Seasonal affective disorder

Depression - winter; SAD
Last reviewed: March 6, 2011.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The disorder may begin during the teen years or in early adulthood. Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.
People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk for SAD. A less common form of the disorder involves depression during the summer months.
Other factors that may make SAD more likely include:
  • Amount of light
  • Body temperature
  • Genes
  • Hormones


Symptoms usually build up slowly in the late autumn and winter months. Symptoms are usually the same as with depression:
  • Increased appetite with weight gain (weight loss is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Increased sleep and daytime sleepiness (too little sleep is more common with other forms of depression)
  • Less energy and ability to concentrate in the afternoon
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unhappiness and irritability

    Yep, check, check and check--except for the increased sleep as I said above. I think my insomnia is more lately a symptom of menopause but let's not get into all that! 

    Anyway, that's where I am right now. What's an adventurer to do? I haven't a clue other than to press on. The slog through the mud and the crawling out of the pit is sometimes just one foot in front of the other. The one thought that keeps me going and trying to feel a small measure of joy is a bit of a macabre one: there will come a day at the end of my life when I KNOW I will want these days back that I've wasted in feeling miserable. Not the cheeriest of encouragements but whatever works...and I have to remember that I cannot continue to WASTE the days of my life in feeling miserable no matter what the weather is. 

    I also want to try to get my spirits up in time for the holidays and so I can at least drag myself into the preparation and celebrations. So...THE ADVENTURE's just not always what you expect it to be! 

    OK, Still not helpful!

    We do have Thanksgiving plans here even though the day is not celebrated. So, stay tuned for, hopefully pictures and an account of our UK Thanksgiving again this year. See you then!