Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is depression that is related to seasonal changes. It often starts in the
fall when the weather is starting to cool, and we are confined indoors more often. SAD tends to end in
the spring when the weather starts to warm, and we can get outdoors more. Since we, as Canadians,
live far from the equator and experience decreased sunlight hours in the winter, we are all at risk for
SAD. Symptoms are like depression with sadness being the number one symptom. SAD sufferers
experience loss of interest in things they normally enjoy, insomnia (which can exacerbate the depression
aspect), low energy, experience changes in diet, weight fluctuations and possibly thoughts of suicide.
If you experience any of these symptoms during the season make an appointment with your doctor to
discuss a treatment plan. There are many different treatments aside from medication. Using a special
lightbox (called phototherapy) is a common treatment, along with talk therapy, exercise, meditation
and getting outdoors – even when it is cold outside.