Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that normally occurs with the influence of a season, most commonly winter. Similarly to other forms of depression the sufferer will feel very low, have a lack of interest in anything and everything and tend to sleep more. The symptoms normally start towards the end of Autumn as the nights become darker, and gradually get worse through the winter months of December, January and February. The sufferer will start to feel better again when the Spring comes. The symptoms normally recur at the same time every year
Similarly to other forms of depression the person will feel stressed and anxious. They can be irritable, have feelings of despair and be prone to bouts of crying. They will have very low energy levels and over eat, particularly craving carbohydrates. It affects their self-esteem, and they feel totally worthless. Their behaviour can change and they can become difficult, and sometimes even abusive.
The exact cause for this disorder is unknown, but it is thought to be linked to having less exposure to the sun during the winter months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can effect personal, work, social as well as family relationships. It can also lead on to alcohol and substance abuse.