Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons, explains behavioural psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer.
It's a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year suddenly exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year.— Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist
SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year, Schomer says.
While the disorder is most commonly associated with winter, many people experience the symptoms during summer too.
Symptoms kick in during the transition of seasons and can sap an individuals energy.
SAD Symptoms include:
- mood swings
- increased feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- loss of interest in routine activities
- decrease in sexual drive
- poor appetite
- increased insomnia
- increased weight loss
Dr Schomer advises that light therapy is an important part of SAD treatment and encourages individuals to soak up the sun as much as possible during the winter time.
The further we get into winter, the more we should be out in sunlight at lunchtime. At least 20 minute a day of skin exposure.— Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist
He also suggests that regular exercise and outdoor movement will help treat the disorder, among other things.
Take a listen to his expert advice on how to manage SAD: