HCCUA Visit Us On Twitter Visit Us On Facebook
Join HCCUA Today!

Home > Health And Wellness

What is Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD)?


The term “winter blues” has been around for a long time, but nobody knew that it was a real condition until fairly recently. As warm summer days fade away and the cold days of fall and winter roll in, a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to the environmental change. People naturally crave sunlight and when there are less sunny hours in a day, many people find themselves suffering from Seasonally Affected Disorder (S.A.D.). In fact, it has been reported that as many as one out of four people suffer from this disorder that can range from a mild annoyance to a serious condition.

Though symptoms can vary from person to person, there are some tell-tale signs of Seasonally Affected Disorder. If you think that you may be one of the millions of people who have S.A.D., take this quiz to find out more.

  1. Do you feel more depressed than usual once winter sets in?
  2. Do you have a hard time concentrating on day-to-day tasks during colder seasons?
  3. Do you suffer from insomnia during the fall and winter?
  4. Do you consider yourself to be more irritable when the days are shorter?
  5. Does your body ache more than usual during the fall and winter?
  6. Do you decrease your physical activity level during the colder seasons?
  7. Do you eat more than usual during the wintertime?
  8. Does your sex drive decrease during the fall and winter?
  9. Do you live far away from the equator?
  10. Do you feel unusual fatigue during the fall and winter months?

If you answered ‘yes’ to five or more of these questions, you may have S.A.D. and should visit your physician for an accurate diagnosis. The most common signs and symptoms of Seasonally Affected Disorder include fatigue, depression, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, body aches and pains, decreased fitness, increased hunger, irritability, and decreased sex drive. While almost anybody can develop S.A.D., those who live furthest away from the equator are more prone to get this disorder. Additionally, over 80 percent of the people with S.A.D. are women.

Most people with S.A.D. find that their disorder greatly improves when they expose themselves to bright or fluorescent light. Since S.A.D. occurs due to a chemical change in the brain that stems from a lack of bright lights, phototherapy is a very successful treatment plan. Whether people with S.A.D. spend time in light boxes or take a trip to sunny areas, the results are usually quite positive.

For those who do not find relief with phototherapy, most physicians are willing to prescribe antidepressant medications during the fall and winter. Of course, these medications should be taken with caution, as some antidepressants can become addictive and/or have side effects. With that in mind, anybody who must take medication as an S.A.D. reliever should feel much better within a short period of time.

Between phototherapy and medication, most S.A.D. sufferers can maintain their normal lives and eliminate most of the symptoms of this disorder. Even though some of the symptoms may seem grim, S.A.D. does not have to be all that sad – at least not with the right treatment.


[Go Back]
Affordable Health Insurance - iCan