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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a subtype of major depression related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. The symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping energy and making people feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. In either case, symptoms may start mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

This yearly feeling may be mistaken as simply a case of the winter blues or a seasonal funk. Because in some people with bipolar disorder, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of hypomania. On the other hand, winter and autumn can be a time of depression.

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You are at higher risk if:

  • You are a woman.  Although men go through more acute symptoms, more women than men are diagnosed.
  • You are young, especially when it comes to winter SAD.
  • If your family has a history of clinical depression
  • Bipolar disorder affects you
  • If you live far from the equator.
  • There isn’t enough sunlight in your environment.  This drops serotonin levels, which triggers depression.
  • If your circadian rhythm (biological clock) gets disrupted
  • The change of season disrupts your mood and sleep patterns due to a  disbalance of your body’s melatonin levels.

The treatment programs available at Refresh Recovery for Seasonal Affective Disorder may include phototherapy, medications, and talk therapies.

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