Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is triggered by changing seasons occurring in late fall or early winter and sometimes lingering in the spring and early summer seasons. The most common type is winter-onset depression. Individuals may feel moody, have no energy and unmotivated. While a specific cause is unknown, we do know that certain factors and causes may increase your risk of SAD.
Symptoms of decreased interest in everyday activities, concentration, energy and appetite are common. Your body may feel heavy and your arms and legs may feel like lead. While the fall and winter seasons are most common, some individuals have an opposite pattern that begins in the spring or summer seasons and most have depression related symptoms as well. Either way, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.
Steps can be taken to help keep your mood and motivation throughout the year. Treatment may include light therapy, psychotherapy, medications or a combination of different treatments. Try taking a walk at work during breaks to get some sunlight every day to raise serotonin levels. It's normal to have days when you feel a little down but if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you feel hopeless or think about suicide, consult with your physician.