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Seasonal Affective Disorder


Many people experience brief episodes of sadness or act differently than normal. Sometimes, these mood swings start and end with the onset of a new season. The “winter blues” or shorter days in the fall and winter might make people feel “sad,” but long days in the spring can help them feel better. These mood swings can sometimes be more severe and have an impact on a person’s feelings, thoughts, and ability to carry out everyday tasks. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a kind of sadness, may be present if you have noticed substantial variations in your mood and behavior with the changing of the seasons. Winter-pattern SAD or winter depression is the term used to describe SAD symptoms that often begin in the late fall or early winter and disappear during the spring and summer. It is less frequent for certain persons to develop depressive episodes in the spring and summer; this is known as summer-pattern SAD or summer depression.


A form of sadness known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same period each year.

If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medicines, Psychotherapy, and Light Therapy (Phototherapy). Don’t dismiss that recurring emotion as merely a case of the “winter blues” or a temporary low that you must get over on your own. Take action to maintain your motivation and outlook throughout the year.


SAD symptoms typically start to show up in late fall or early winter and disappear throughout the longer, sunnier days of spring and summer. Less frequently, individuals following the reverse pattern experience symptoms in the spring or summer. In either scenario, symptoms could initially be light before getting worse as the season goes on. SAD symptoms may include:

  1. Almost every day, you wake up feeling depressed, gloomy, or listless.
  2. You stop being interested in things you used to like.
  3. Feeling lethargic and low in energy.
  4. Having issues with excessive sleep.
  5. Having desires for carbohydrates, overeating, and weight gain.
  6. Having trouble staying focused.
  7. Having a sense of worthlessness or remorse.
  8. Thinking about not wanting to live.

Winter and fall SAD

Winter depression symptoms that are particular to SAD include things like:

  1. Oversleeping.
  2. Changes in appetite, particularly a desire for foods heavy in carbs.
  3. Gaining weight.
  4. Poor energy or fatigue.

Summer and spring SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder with summer onset, often known as summer depression, may present with the following symptoms:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Lack of appetite
  3. Loss of weight
  4. Anxiety or agitation
  5. Increased irritation

Changes In The Seasons And Bipolar Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in people with bipolar disorder. Mania episodes in some bipolar patients may be connected to a particular season. For instance, spring and summer might trigger mania symptoms or a milder type of mania (hypomania), as well as worry, agitation, and impatience. They could also go through periods of depression in the fall and winter.

It’s common to experience depressive feelings occasionally. However, you should visit your doctor if you have prolonged dejection and find it difficult to muster the motivation to engage in your favorite hobbies. This is particularly crucial if your appetite and sleep patterns have changed, you use alcohol to unwind or for solace, or if you feel hopeless or consider suicide.


It is still unclear what specifically causes the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some elements that could be in play include:

  1. Your body’s clock (circadian rhythm). Winter-onset SAD may be brought on by the lower levels of sunshine in the fall and winter. Your body’s internal clock may be thrown off by this reduction in sunlight, which could result in depressive symptoms.
  2. Level of serotonin. SAD may be caused by a decrease in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that modulates mood. Serotonin levels may drop due to less sunlight, which may lead to depression.
  3. Level of melatonin. Seasonal changes have the potential to upset the body’s melatonin equilibrium, which affects sleep cycles and mood.

Risk Factors

Women are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder more frequently than males are. And younger folks are more likely than older adults to experience SAD. Your risk of developing the seasonal affective disorder may be affected by the following factors:

  1. Family Background. SAD patients may be more likely to have blood relations who also suffer from the condition or another type of sadness.
  2. Being bipolar or suffering from significant depression. If you have one of these illnesses, your depression symptoms may get worse throughout certain seasons.
  3. Staying far from the equator. People who reside far north or far south of the equator appear to be more susceptible to SAD. This might be brought on by shorter days in the winter and longer days in the summer.
  4. Low Vitamin D levels. When the skin is exposed to sunshine, some Vitamin D is created in the skin. Serotonin activity can be increased with the aid of Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D in the body may be caused by insufficient intake of the nutrient through meals and other sources as well as less exposure to sunlight.


Severe consideration should be given to Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. If SAD is left untreated, it can deteriorate and cause issues, just like other types of depression. These may consist of:

  1. Social isolation.
  2. Issues at work or at school.
  3. Drug and alcohol abuse.
  4. Additional mental health issues, such as anxiety or eating issues.
  5. Suicidal ideas or actions.


There is currently no known technique to stop the seasonal affective disorder from occurring. However, if you take action to manage your symptoms as soon as possible, you might be able to stop them from getting worse over time. As you can anticipate the season in which these symptoms may begin, you may be able to prevent serious changes in mood, appetite, and energy levels. Treatment can help avoid problems, particularly if SAD is identified and treated before symptoms become severe.

Some people find it beneficial to start their treatments in the fall or winter, before symptoms would typically appear, and to continue them far after symptoms would ordinarily go. Others require ongoing care to keep their symptoms from reappearing.

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