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Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder characterized by depression related to a certain season of the year – especially winter. However, SAD is often not described as a separate mood disorder but as a “specifier,” referring to the seasonal pattern of major depressive episodes that can occur within major depression and manic depression.

SAD is a clinical diagnosis accepted in the medical community. Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, Chief of Environmental Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health

Disorders, is the researcher credited with discovering SAD.

What causes SAD?

Decreased sunlight is thought to be part of the cause of SAD, and is under clinical investigation.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder:

Specific treatment for SAD will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference