Iowa Specialty Hospital

Seasonal Affective Disorder

November 16, 2022

In a given year, about 5 percent of the population experiences seasonal depression, and four out of the five people who experience it are women. It's important to learn about the types of Season Affective Disorder, their symptoms, and what you can do if you are suffering from SAD.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder image

In a given year, about 5 percent of the population experiences seasonal depression, and four out of the five people who experience it are women. There are two types of seasonal affective disorder (SAD): winter pattern and summer pattern. Symptoms of SAD often include symptoms of major depression, then can include additional symptoms. 

 

For winter pattern SAD, symptoms can include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Overeating (particularly with a craving for carbohydrates)
  • Weight gain
  • Social withdrawal

 

For summer pattern SAD, symptoms can include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor appetite
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior

Both patterns are characterized by a recurrent seasonal pattern and lasts about 4-5 months.

What can you do if you think you might be suffering from SAD?

Light therapy has been show to help people who are struggling with SAD. Psychotherapy and medication management are also options to help with symptoms. As far as preventing SAD, people can start light therapy early in the fall to help with the onset of symptoms as well as exercising more, increasing the amount of light at home, meditation and other stress management techniques, spending more time outside, and visiting climates that have more sun.

ISH has a mental health team that can help with SAD. The team currently consists of 13 therapists and 2 medication providers. We provide services at our Clarion, Belmond, Garner, and Hampton offices and will soon include the Webster City location. We also offer services at schools in Clarion, Belmond and Hampton.

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