Common Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder & How to Manage Them

signs of seasonal affective disorder

If you notice that you tend to get a case of the “winter blues” as soon as the seasons begin to change, you may have a specific type of mood disorder known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Although SAD most commonly occurs at the onset of fall and typically lasts through the winter months, some people may experience symptoms in the spring or summer. In either case, these significant changes in mood that occur at the same time each year can have lasting effects on your mental and physical health and therefore shouldn’t be left untreated.

If you or a loved one struggle with SAD, it can be helpful to first know and understand the common symptoms of the disorder, as well as the steps you can take to help manage them.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

A type of depression, seasonal affective disorder can have a negative impact on a person’s overall mood, outlook on life, and wellbeing. Thus, many of the common signs of SAD, especially when it occurs in the winter months, can be similar to those of major depression. These may include:

  • Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness
  • Low energy levels
  • Loss of motivation or interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing or remembering things
  • Social withdrawal

Tips for Coping with SAD

While feeling down or depressed on occasion can be a normal part of life, having these feelings for a prolonged period of time can be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re having trouble dealing with seasonal affective disorder, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options that may be appropriate for you.

In addition to seeking professional help, there are numerous lifestyle changes that you can make to help improve or alleviate your symptoms, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, spending time outdoors, and making your home brighter and sunnier.

For more information about mental health resources available in the community, a healthcare expert from the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation Community Mental Health Program would be happy to assist you.

Upcoming Events

6:00 pm Suicide Awareness and Prevention @ Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation
Suicide Awareness and Prevention @ Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation
Aug 6 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Join Dr. Angela Bloomquist, School Psychology Program Coordinator, California University of PA as she discusses the prevalence of suicide, the warning signs of suicide and the appropriate interventions for suicide.  The seminar is sponsored by the Heatherlyn A. Marshall Memorial Fund of the AKHF. Free and open
8:30 am 10th Annual Sporting Clay Event @ Promise Land Hunting Preserve, Slate Lick, PA
10th Annual Sporting Clay Event @ Promise Land Hunting Preserve, Slate Lick, PA
Sep 27 @ 8:30 am
The Foundation’s 10th Annual Sporting Clay Event will be held on Friday, September 27th with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Promise Land Hunting Preserve, Slate Lick, PA.  Shooting begins promptly at 10 a.m.  Lunch is scheduled to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m.  $125 Registration fee per person, $500 for a team of