How Do I Know If I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Written by: Amanda Levison,M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT

Now that Fall is among us and winter is quickly approaching, the temperatures are dropping, and daylight is becoming scarcer. Some people might be experiencing a change in their mood along with the change in the seasons. Feeling sad, depressed, or not quite like yourself could indicate that you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or what some refer to as cabin fever. SAD is a type of depression that is only present during certain times of the year, usually beginning in the Fall when the hours of sunlight begin to decline.

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Some signs and symptoms include:

● Having little energy or feeling withdrawn

● Sleeping too much or too little

● Weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite

● Feeling sad or losing interest in things

● Feeling depressed or anxious

How do I Know I Have SAD and Not Major Depressive Disorder?

SAD and major depressive disorder (MDD) have many similarities. Some of the signs and symptoms of these disorders are the same. However, MDD can be experienced at any and all times of the year and is not triggered by changes in the seasons. SAD, on the other hand, is directly related to the time of the year. For example, someone who experiences SAD in the winter would not experience SAD in the summer months.

When Should I Get Help?

If you think that some of the above-listed symptoms sound like what you are experiencing, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are some steps to take to get your mental health back on track. Talk to your doctor or