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More than Just the Winter Blues, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is Depression

Yep, it’s that time of year again! No, I was not referring to legging session or that time of year when you gain 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I was referring to that time of year when you see an increase in SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It’s this time of year when we tend to miss our deceased loved ones the most as we get together with our friends and family.

But there is more to it than just that! We spend all summer being outdoors spending time at the beach or out on the water taking in as much sun as we can. 😊 I sure do miss those days and can’t wait for some warmer weather!

According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression said to be related to the change in seasons. While the specific cause of SAD is unknown, it has been attributed to the reduced level of sunlight which disrupts our body’s internal clock which can lead to an increase in feelings of depression.

It is also believed that a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, caused by reduced sunlight can also trigger depression.

The body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood, is also disrupted by the change in season.

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), and in more extreme cases medications and psychotherapy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide


There are different symptoms during different seasons!

Fall and Winter tend to cause:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite change
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy


While Spring and Summer can look like:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss


Don’t brush off those feelings as the “winter blues” You can take steps to ward off seasonal depression.

  • Get up
  • Get moving
  • Meditate
  • Use guided imagery
  • Music or art therapy
  • Get outdoors!

Take advantage of the pretty days that we are blessed with during the winter session.  Not only will you feel more energized by the sunlight and outdoor activities, but you will surely notice a difference in your mood!

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.


Call us if you or a loved one is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder or any other type of depression or anxiety. 1-844-728-4929


Jillian Mosley MS, LPC, Behavioral Health CounselorBy: Jillian Mosley MS, LPC, Behavioral Health Counselor at our Mobile Alabama office.

Jillian Mosley has a Masters in Community Counseling from the University of South Alabama and obtained her LPC license in the State of Alabama. She has been with Pathway Healthcare for the past year. Jillian has experience working with patients with ADHD, psychiatric and behavioral issues as well as with patients battling depression, anxiety and addictions.