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Seasonal Depression

There is no solid research on prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) . Some evidence indicates that people who live in northern latitudes may be more frequently affected.

Distinguishing Features

Winter Symptoms

 

When onset is in winter, the following symptoms often occur:

 

 

Spring and Summer Symptoms

 

When onset is in the spring or summer, the following symptoms are more likely:

 

 

Reverse SAD

 

Infrequently people have a reverse form of seasonal affective disorder, experiencing the following symptoms, that relate to elevated mood:

 

 

For more information on symptoms...

Causes

The following factors may play a part in seasonal affective disorder, with no clear cut single cause likely to emerge.

 

Body chemistry

Melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep is suspected by some, as the body naturally produces more of it during winter. Serotonin, a brain chemical, may also play a part, as reduced light causes a drop in serotonin levels.

Body Clock

 

The body’s natural clock, called the circadian rhythm , may be disrupted by the short days and long nights of winter by and cause depression.

 

Other general causes of depression may also apply.

 

For more details see Causes of Depression.

Self-Help

See the Self-Help page for general information on self-help with depression.

Professional Treatment

Psychotherapy, light therapy and medication are all used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. A mental health professional may indicate the need to begin taking an antidepressant several weeks before the onset of symptoms.

 

For more details see Treatment for Depression.

 

For more information on treatment of seasonal depression...

 

Continue on through this topic to Postpartum Depression.

 

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