2. How do I know if I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

September 15th, 2015

Usually, people with SAD have trouble sleeping and concentrating, and experience a drop in energy. They may also feel depressed, which can come in the form of sadness, despair and guilt. Other symptoms include anxiety and panic attacks.


If you are feeling anxious about the cooler nights and it getting darker earlier, you may be experiencing early symptoms of SAD. However, it is important to be aware that it is normal to feel different with the change of season. But if you are starting to feel an impact on your everyday life, it is important to talk to a therapist or counsellor.


While it’s not certain what causes SAD, it is known that women are more likely to experience it and in countries far from the equator. Because of this, some experts advise SAD or depression may be caused by a lack of sunlight, which then affects your serotonin (a ‘feel good’ chemical released by the brain) and body clock.


In addition to feeling unhappy, some people overeat and gain weight as a result. Others may sleep more, but still feel tired. If you feel depressed or stressed, or the seasonal change is affecting your relationship, talk to a therapist about what you are feeling.


Because there are so many symptoms of SAD, people are usually diagnosed when they report feeling depressed at the change of seasons two or more years in a row. It is important to understand the difference between needing help coping with depression or SAD – or whether what you are feeling means you could benefit from couples therapy.


For more information, or to talk about experiencing SAD, call your counsellor today.