Are You Just Sad or Suffering From SAD?

Are You Just Sad or Suffering From SAD?

SAD is the acronym for the clinical diagnosis Seasonal Affective Disorder. You may be feeling slightly out of sorts or, more seriously, downright depressed. Reviewing a list of signs and symptoms may help you better understand if you’re just having a few crummy days or actually suffering from a mood disorder.

A SAD Description

It’s kind of a funny term for something that describes what could be a serious condition. SAD is described as a type of depression that’s linked to change in seasons. It’s not a simple as, “Oh, it’s cold and snowing, now I’m depressed.”

SAD is a subtype of major depression.

The change in seasons affects us biologically. Our internal clock (circadian rhythm) can be disrupted from a decrease in sunlight. Serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) levels can drop from less sun exposure during short winter days. Both of the above scenarios can trigger feelings of depression.

Losing sleep and changes in sleep patterns can also lead to mood disorder. Seasonal change can also affect melatonin levels, which help guide us through a proper night’s rest.

SAD in the Winter

In most SAD cases, a person’s symptoms begin in late fall and continue throughout the winter. It’s sometimes referred to a winter depression. Some sources claim holiday stress can also trigger the onset of this type of disorder.

Here are some symptoms that may accompany winter SAD:

  • Fatigue and very low energy
  • Overeating, carb cravings, and/or weight gain
  • Wanting to be alone most of the time
  • Feeling depressed every day
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hypersensitive to rejection

Young people are more prone to winter SAD than spring or summer. Conversely, older adults are less likely to experience winter SAD than moodiness in other seasons.

SAD in the Springtime

There are considerably less diagnosed cases of spring-summer SAD than winter. The signs and symptoms also vary. Some markers are:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Feeling hopeless and depressed
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Violent outbursts
  • Thoughts of suicide

What are the Chances When You Experience Symptoms?

SAD is not a condition you should just brush off as trivial. If you’re suffering from clinical depression, consider it a real and significant mental health challenge.

Far more women are diagnosed with SAD then men. However, men present more-severe symptoms.

If depression runs in your family, you’re more likely to be susceptible to SAD or another type of depression. If you’re already clinically depressed or suffer from bipolar disorder, your symptoms may worsen during seasonal change.

What To Do if You’re Feeling Sad

Typical sadness does not last most of the day, everyday, for weeks or months. If you’re experiencing the above symptoms or feeling chronically sad, check in with yourself and review what might have been the trigger.

If you have (or can get) access to a mental health provider, it would be worth making contact. You can look online for resources or ask your general physician for referrals.

Conquering depression is possible. There are many options available to assist in recovery. Start off by eating fresh foods, getting some form of exercise daily, and a solid eight hours per night of sleep. Get your body healthy, which in turn will help heal your mind.

Beyond that, there’s counseling, psychiatry, support groups, homeopathic remedies, and for some cases, prescription medicines. You got this!

For other informative articles on best mental and physical health, see