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Seasonal affective disorder

It’s more than just the "winter blahs"

distressed african american femaleSeasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons – most commonly beginning in winter. Like other forms of depression, it occurs more frequently in women than in men. Most people with the "winter blahs" or "cabin fever" do not have SAD.

The cause of SAD isn't known but it’s thought to be related to changes in ambient light, body temperature and hormone regulation.

Symptoms of SAD can vary but include:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Weight gain

Talk to your Novant Health doctor if you feel you may be suffering from SAD. The diagnosis of SAD is made from a psychological evaluation; treatment options include medication and therapy.