Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which, as its name suggests, has a seasonal pattern. The onset is usually September/October and continuing until March or April and tends to be at its worst between December and February which is why it is also often known as the winter depression.
SAD is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain due to shorter daylight hours and a lack of sunlight in the winter months. It may first appear at any age though it most commonly occurs between the ages of 18-30. It is also more common the further north or south you move away from the equator, this is due to the longer and darker winters of the northern and southern hemispheres compared to countries nearer the equator.
Seasonal affective disorder shares many of the symptoms that are found in normal depression. These include physical and psychological symptoms such as:
Unlike normal depression which often results in a lack of appetite, another common symptom of SAD is a craving for certain food types which can lead to over eating and weight gain.
Many people experience milder forms of the above symptoms during the winter months this is known as sub-syndromal SAD or winter blues and generally does not require any treatment.
A number of treatment options are available for SAD. Light Therapy using specially designed light boxes that emits light of a minimum 2500 lux has been found to be effective. Talking treatments such as psychotherapy and counselling are also useful for helping people cope with their symptoms.
In more severe case antidepressant medication may also be prescribed. Finally there are a number of ways people can help improve their symptoms by changing their lifestyle. These include making your living and working environment as light as possible, getting regular outdoor exercise and generally trying to expose yourself to as much natural sunlight as possible.
We offer private and confidential treatment for all psychiatric conditions, including seasonal affective disorder.
With an extensive range of therapy options and differing fee structures we will help you design a treatment schedule to suit your individual needs and time-constraints.
We offer the following:
Our private outpatient and inpatient psychiatric services can be accessed at the following locations:
Depression Alliance is the leading UK charity for people with depression. Their aim is to relieve and to prevent this treatable condition by providing information and support services to those who are affected by it via our publications, supporter services and network of self-help groups for people affected by depression.
Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. They work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.
Health advice and information provided by the NHS.
The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) offers help and support to those suffering from SAD or winter blues.
Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.