Seasonal Affective Disorder | Youth Cancer Trust

Seasonal Affective Disorder

by | Oct 15, 2021

With the long, lazy days of summer a distant memory, and the nights drawing in, many people find the transition to the autumn and winter months difficult.

Mental Health Charity, Mind, say: ‘It’s common to be affected by changing seasons and weather, or to have times of year when you feel more or less comfortable. For example, you might find that your mood or energy levels drop when it gets colder or warmer, or notice changes in your sleeping or eating patterns.

For some people, however, this can be more severe and result in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), described by the NHS here:

“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.”

Here are some symptoms of SAD to look out for:

  • Lack of energy and or motivation.
  • Finding it hard to focus / concentrate
  • Change in sleep patterns – sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty waking up, falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Feeling sad, tearful, low or having suicidal thoughts.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or spending time with others.
  • Change in appetite- such as eating larger meals or snacking more.
  • More health problems such as colds and other illness.

Many of us experience some of these symptoms from time to time, whether that’s linked to the seasons, or other factors in our lives. However, if your feelings are interfering with your day-to-day life, make an appointment with your GP straight away.

The good news is, there are a range of treatments available for SAD. These include:

  • Lifestyle changes to increase time in natural sunlight, exercise and keeping body and mind healthy.
  • Light therapy box to simulate natural sunlight.
  • Talking therapies
  • Medication to help depression.

You can read more about SAD on the links here:

Article by Wendy Parrott