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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and How to Treat It

Update Date: Apr 15, 2021 02:31 AM EDT
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and How to Treat It
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If you are a person who likes to be outside or enjoys spending time in the sunlight, then you likely can understand why some people may experience feelings of sadness during the winter months. When a person becomes depressed during the winter, they may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. If this sounds like you or someone you know, you might want to keep reading.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, which is also known as SAD, occurs when someone becomes depressed or down in the winter. It may even start as soon as temperatures start to drop. Some of the symptoms of SAD may be felt due to the fact that there is less natural lighting to be found during the winter, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or ice. Another possible cause is that darker weather may mess up your routine and confuse your body on what time of day or night it is.

It is fine for anyone to feel down every now and then, but if you have trouble for many days at a time, or you find yourself unable to get out of bed and go about your day for multiple days at a time, it may be time to seek help. These could be signs that you are experiencing SAD, or some other type of mood condition.

Treatment Options

There are a couple of treatment options that are common when it comes to SAD. One is light therapy. Seasonal affective disorder light therapy involves using a light box to simulate natural lighting. A person will be asked to use one for a specific amount of time and see how they respond. They may see a change in some of their symptoms and they may not. This all depends on the person and the symptoms they were experiencing initially. Some light boxes are available for purchase for anyone, in case you find yourself missing sunshine on those gray days.

Another option when it comes to treatment are prescriptions. Of course, these will likely not be used by themselves. A patient with SAD symptoms will need to meet with a therapist to discuss what can be done and may be placed on medicines to counteract specific symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what might work for you and keep an open mind.

Be sure to reach out for help from your seasonal sadness when you feel that you need to. There are many ways in which a therapist will be able to help you, including the ways that are described above. Besides that, they may be able to offer you additional techniques that you can add to your routine.

You should also do what you can to relax. If you are feeling down during the winter, try to perk yourself up through exercise, making sure you are eating right, and sleeping enough at night. These things may make a big difference.


If you love sunny weather, be sure you take advantage of it when you can. You never know when it may be raining for days at time. Long winters could leave you feeling less than ideal as well. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are therapy options available for SAD that can help you get through dreary weather and still feel like yourself. Do additional research if you need to and make sure that you are paying attention to how you feel. While an occasional rainy or cold day may get you down, when you see a pattern of this, there could be something more going on. 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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