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Seasonal Affective Disorder

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

    © 2016
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     Difference Between Non-Seasonal Depression and SAD

     Non-seasonal depression and SAD are different but have an overlapping symptom picture.  Differences between symptoms of non-seasonal depression and SAD include weight loss as opposed to weight gain (with SAD) and problems sleeping rather than increased sleeping (with SAD).
Weather and Mood
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                                Psychological Triggers

     We all have our favorite seasons.  Maybe it involves a seasonal sport or activity. They represent times of the year where the weather conditions enable us to enjoy and do the things we want.  The other side of this is that other seasons prevent us from doing the things we like to do and may even present hardships and added expense, e.g., snow removal, dangerous travel, downed power lines, cold temperatures.  Even those living in tropical climates experience certain times of the year where hurricanes are more prevalent, turning that paradise into a nightmare.
     Fall and winter appear to be the most prevalent seasons for SAD.  Lawns gradually become a faded green and the trees lose their foliage.  The lower temperatures warrant wearing more clothes to stay warm.  In some areas, the roads become icy and snow covered making traveling, planning and attending events difficult.  Perhaps the observable changing of the seasons in some regions induces sadness or melancholy in some individuals.

            Biology--Biochemical Abnormalities


   Environmental--Stressful Events

       Fall and Winter Holidays--Effects on SAD Susceptible People

   All holidays and anniversaries have the potential for evoking strong emotions--good and bad.  But the winter holidays seem to be the most potent.  Missing a loved one, painful memories or attempts to live up to Hollywood’s unattainable portrayals (fantasies) and expectations for holidays can make this a bittersweet time of the year.

     Is it a coincidence that in some individuals, SAD symptoms start to appear around fall and winter holidays?  Some might proffer holiday stress as the precursor to depression like symptoms, with the added frustration, disillusionment or expected personal and social behavior.   Others may theorize the holiday stress just compounds or amplifies the inevitable looming symptoms of SAD.