SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (S.A.D) WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER? • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter. • Every year, as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it is estimated that about 2 or 3 out or every 100 people are affected by SAD. About 15 out of every 100 people have less severe symptoms of SAD called the "winter blues. • It is more common in women than in men and it usually begins when people are in their 20s. Older people are at lower risk. Children can also experience SAD, although it is far less common. CAUSES SAD may begin during the teen years or in adulthood. Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men. People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk for SAD. A less common form of the disorder involves depression during the summer months. SYMPTOMS SIGNS AND TESTS • There is no test for SAD. Your health care provider can make a diagnosis by asking about your history of symptoms. • The health care provider may also perform a physical exam and blood tests to rule out other disorders that are similar to SAD. TREATMENT • There are many different treatments for classic winter-based seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionizedair administration, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin. Get enough sleep. • Eat a healthy diet. • Take medicines the right way. Learn how to manage side effects. • Learn to watch for early signs that your depression is getting worse. Have a plan if it does get worse. • Try to exercise more often. Look for activities that make you happy. • Practice good sleep habits. • EXPECTATIONS/PROGNOSIS • The outcome is usually good with treatment. However, some people have SAD throughout their lives.