You may have heard of the “Winter Blues,” typically occurring when the seasons change from fall to winter and with less daylight. This is often linked with stressors that may occur during the holiday season as well. A more serious version of this is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects approximately 5 percent of the U.S. population yearly, according to Mental Health America.

SAD is a seasonal pattern of depression, and is characterized by symptoms of major depression, some of which may include (according to NIMH):

  • Feeling down most days
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Experiencing changes in appetite (craving carbohydrates, for example)
  • Weight gain or overeating
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Low energy
  • Hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Oversleeping
  • Social withdrawal

This occurs more commonly in those with other mental health disorders, and in those with family history of mental health disorders. SAD has also been known to affect women at higher rates and can begin in young adulthood.

There are many evidenced based treatments for this condition, including psychotherapy, light therapy, medication, etc. If you believe you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder and/or are struggling through these months, MiraCare’s continuum of care is here to help!

It is important to remember that if you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Written by:
Cynthia Rangel, PsyD, BCN of MiraCare Group
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Board Certified in Neurofeedback

Additional Resources for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):

Prevention, Prevalence,
Causes, Symptoms and

Symptoms, Diagnosis
and Treatment

Information for Teens
and Ways to Feel Better