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It's that magical, dark, freezing cold time of year when millions of people start feeling SAD No, we're not screaming at you. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Seasonal Depression--a type of disorder in which your mood changes with the seasons. You may know this as "the winter blues," but did you know SAD can occur in the summer as well? What is the difference between SAD and good ol' fashioned depression? How do you know if you have it and how do you treat it? Dr. Shalts spills his expert knowledge about this curious (and not uncommon) disorder.

From This Episode

Risk Factors for SAD

1.Being female. SAD is diagnosed four times more often in women than men.


2. Living far from the equator. SAD is more frequent in people who live far north or south of the equator. For example, 1 percent of those who live in Florida and 9 percent of those who live in New England or Alaska suffer from SAD.


3. Family history. People with a family history of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD than people who do not have a family history of depression.


4. Having depression or bipolar disorder. The symptoms of depression may worsen with the seasons if you have one of these conditions (but SAD is diagnosed only if seasonal depressions are the most common).


5. Younger Age. Younger adults have a higher risk of SAD than older adults. SAD has been reported even in children and teens.

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- weight gain 

- increased appetite

- low energy

- poor concentration 

- hopelessness, guilt

- increased sleep

- weight loss 

- decreased appetite

- anxiety

- poor concentration 

- agitation, irritability

- insomnia

- feeling hopeless or worthless

- feelings of nihilism

- disruption of regular eating habits/appetite 

- sleep disturbances

Treatment for SAD

Light box therapy

Medication and therapy should be addressed with your doctor. 

Make sure your symptoms are not due to a physical health condition. 

Make sure your symptoms are not due to a pre-existing mood disorder.

Alcohol is a depressant- try to cut back on it.

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