DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications.
Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.
Sept. 12, 2014
- Saeed SA, et al. Seasonal affective disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Specifiers for depressive disorders: With seasonal pattern. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Seasonal affective disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=23051. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Seasonal-affective disorder. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psychiatry.org/seasonal-affective-disorder. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Varteresian T, et al. Natural products and supplements for geriatric depression and cognitive disorders: An evaluation of the research. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2014;16:456.
- Sanassi LA. Seasonal affective disorder: Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. 2014;27:18.
- Melatonin. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Ravindran AV, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies as add-on to pharmacotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2013;150:707.
- Stress and relaxation techniques. NCCAM Clinical Digest. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/relaxation.htm. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Massage therapy for health purposes. NCCAM Clinical Digest. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/massage. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
- Kung S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 29, 2014.