Do the winter months get you down more than you think they should? If so, you might have seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. A rare form of seasonal depression, known as "summer depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, though, seasonal affective disorder starts in fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. SAD usually starts in young adulthood and is more common in women than men. Some people with SAD have mild symptoms and feel out of sorts or irritable. Others have worse symptoms that interfere with relationships and work. Because the lack of enough daylight during wintertime is related to SAD, it's less often found in countries where there's plenty of sunshine year-round. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.