Font Size

Seasonal Depression (SAD) (cont.)

What Is Other Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

St. John's wort: It is unclear whether this herb will improve some of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but it increases sensitivity to light, which may rule out bright-light therapy. Researchers are still looking at whether this treatment is appropriate for people with SAD. Other natural remedies like kava and acupuncture are being studied to explore whether or not they can effectively treat SAD.

What Is the Follow-up for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Learn as much as you can about seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
  • Do not feel guilty; understand that SAD is caused by a chemical abnormality that you have little control over.
  • Explore support groups to help you cope with the disorder.
  • Follow the treatment recommendations of your health care professsional.

How Can I Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Spending at least 30 minutes outdoors every day may help prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
  • Approaching the season of depression with a positive attitude and planning activities you enjoy may be another example of how to avoid SAD.
  • Try to spend time outdoors every day, especially during the months when SAD affects you most. Midday, when the light is strongest, is the best time to be outdoors.
  • Physical activities, such as walking, may also help relieve symptoms.
  • If taking antidepressant medication, take as directed and do not stop or change your dose without consulting your health care professional.

What Is the Prognosis for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If left untreated, seasonal affective disorder can become more severe and have a negative prognosis. Severe depression can cause damage to physical and mental health, relationships with others, job effectiveness, and enjoyment of life. Very severe depression can cause a person to contemplate or commit suicide or other self-harm.

Support Groups and Counseling for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Counseling, also called psychotherapy, may be necessary to help you cope with fear or guilt about seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may help you relax, accept the disorder, and cope with the limits SAD puts on you. Complementary activities such as meditation, relaxation, and aerobic exercise may have similar effects.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Abbate, S. "The treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD): classical points for a contemporary condition." Acupuncture Today 4.4 Apr. 2003.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "Practice Parameters for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Depressive Disorders." J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 37(10 suppl) (1998).

Eagles, J.M. "Light therapy and the management of winter depression." Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 10 (2004): 233-240.

Murphy, P.K., and C.L. Wagner. "Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review." Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health 53.5 Sept.-Oct. 2008: 440-446.

Oren, D.A., K.L. Wisner, M. Spinelli, et al. "An open trial of morning light therapy for treatment of antepartum depression." American Journal of Psychiatry 159.4 Apr. 2002: 666-669.

Sher, L. "Alcoholism and seasonal affective disorder." Comprehensive Psychiatry 45.1 Jan.-Feb. 2004: 51-56.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Seasonal Depression (SAD)

SSRIs and Depression
SSRIs and Depression Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (learn more >>

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)?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Depression »

Major depression, also known as unipolar depression, is one of the more commonly encountered psychiatric disorders.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary