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Seasonal Depression (SAD) (cont.)

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Patient Comments

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may have some of the same signs and symptoms as other types of depression. The stress of anticipating the onset of SAD often results in the sufferer having anxiety months before SAD symptoms begin each year.

  • Most people have only some of these symptoms, not all.
    • Depressed mood
    • Loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities
    • Fatigue or loss of energy
    • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
    • Poor concentration, indecisiveness
    • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • The symptoms of SAD come back every year, and for any specific person, they tend to come and go at about the same time each year.
  • Winter SAD is typically characterized by
    • sleeping more than usual;
    • craving for sugar, starchy foods, or alcohol;
    • weight gain;
    • irritability;
    • conflicts with other people;
    • heaviness of arms and legs;
    • behavior disturbances (in children).
  • People with winter SAD may seek out light places or sunlight, or like to have lots of artificial lights on.
  • Summer SAD is generally accompanied by some of the following signs and symptoms:

When Should I Call the Doctor About Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seek medical care if you think you have seasonal affective disorder or another type of depression, or if any of the following occur:

  • Feelings of extreme sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Inability to get out of bed or carry on normal activities
  • Persistent loss of energy or increased need for sleep
  • Unexplained change in appetite for food
  • Changes in behavior that cause problems with family, friends, or work
  • Feelings of wanting to die, wanting to commit suicide, or hurting yourself
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, Seasonal Depression):

Seasonal Depression (SAD) - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your seasonal depression (SAD)?


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