Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. While it’s more typical in the winter months, just because we’re moving into Spring doesn’t automatically mean we’ve escaped it. It can still affect a lot of people, sometimes when least expected.
SAD is not a separate disorder. It’s its own type of depression that seems to repeat regularly. To actually be diagnosed with SAD, you must meet the full criteria for major depression aligning with the specific seasons and have that pattern for at least 2 years.
The causes are unknown, however, it can happen when the brain has a more difficult time regulating one of the key neurotransmitters controlling mood. It might be that people experiencing SAD are overproducing the hormone melatonin, or producing less Vitamin D. Either way it seems to be a brain chemical imbalance.
If you’re experiencing SAD or other forms of depression, or know someone who is, please call Jefferson Center at 720-791-2735. Our clinicians have experience working with people going through this and can help.
Thanks to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) for information on SAD.
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