What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Mental Health Matters

Introduction

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter. Common symptoms include sleeping too much and having little to no energy, and overeating. The condition in the summer can include heightened anxiety.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV and DSM-5, its status was changed. It is no longer classified as a unique mood disorder but is now a specifier, called “with seasonal pattern”, for recurrent major depressive disorder that occurs at a specific time of the year and fully remits otherwise. Although experts were initially sceptical, this condition is now recognised as a common disorder.

In the United States, the percentage of the population affected by SAD ranges from 1.4% of the population in Florida, to 9.9% in Alaska…

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