10 Things Everyone Should Know About Seasonal Depression

For some, the winter is hardly “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that affects nearly 10 million American adults and can make a few months out of the year feel downright unbearable. It’s common to feel bouts of the winter blues, but those with seasonal depression may experience symptoms and low moods that sometimes make everyday tasks feel impossible.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about seasonal affective disorder, its treatment options and how it affects people’s daily lives.

1. The underlying cause of SAD isn’t just bad weather.

In most cases, SAD is just a seasonal component of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, according to Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry and the associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center.

“For people who see a regular pattern every year of getting sad, anxious or a cycling of moods, the first thing they need to do is to see someone to get an overall diagnosis,” she said. “They need to treat the underlying depression.”

2. It’s not a punchline.

It can be easy to blame a bad mood on the earlier dark skies, but people should think twice before saying they “must have SAD.” The condition is hardly something to be flippant about, Riba said.

“It’s not something to laugh about or joke about,” Riba said. “It’s a significant health problem.” Here’s a list of other mental illness terms that shouldn’t be used nonchalantly.

3. There are multiple ways to treat SAD…

For a long time, many considered light therapy one of the gold standards of SAD treatment. The method helps sufferers by exposing them to artificial light similar to sunlight. Experts theorize this technique helps correct the body’s inner circadian rhythm and produces feel-good hormones that people get from the sun during —> Read More