Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Dec 07, 2016Health Focus

“Do you notice yourself becoming more moody and less willing to go out this time of year? These could be signs of seasonal mood changes or even depression.”

For many people, this time of year is one of joy, celebration, and happiness. But for some, even the holidays aren’t enough to pull them out of feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a condition that is estimated to affect more than 10 million Americans, according to Psychology Today. SAD is more common in women than in men, and although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Some people also suffer from a more common but less severe condition called seasonal mood changes—the winter blues.

People with SAD tend to feel more withdrawn, hopeless, sad, or depressed as the seasons change from the fall to winter, bringing colder, shorter days with less sunlight. Other symptoms can include a change in weight, fatigue, and avoidance of social situations. Like other forms of depression, the symptoms of seasonal depression can vary widely, ranging from mild to severe.

The cause for SAD is unknown, however, many doctors believe the amount of sunlight a person gets may be linked to mood changes and depression. Studies have shown that people in colder, more wintery climates like ours may be more likely to develop seasonal depression or the winter blues than people who live in warmer, sunnier climates. That makes it even more important for people in our area to watch out for warning signs.

Do you notice yourself becoming more moody and less willing to go out during this time of year? Do you feel like you have less energy during the winter months or that you spend less time socializing or even have a decreased appetite? These could all be signs of seasonal mood changes or even depression.

BMH is here to help and has several professionally trained mental health providers who can aid in diagnosing and treating any mental health issues.

Craig Denny, MD (Psychiatrist)

(208) 782-2991

Donald Whitley, PhD (Psychologist)

(208) 782-2991 or (208) 239-8008

Mental Health Counselors

Jody Bilstrom, LCSW

(208) 782-2444

Suzanne Godfrey, LCPC, NCC

(208) 785-3800

The sooner you identify what is causing your symptoms, the sooner you can get on track to start feeling better and enjoying the winter months ahead.