Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - why it's more than 'the winter blues'

What are the symptoms of SAD?

There are a number of symptoms to SAD, and you don't need to experience all of them to be suffering from the condition. SAD is a condition that can take a while to diagnose though, so doctors will typically want to examine how you have felt over the last few winters.

Common symptoms include a lack of energy for everyday tasks, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, anxiety, over-eating, being more susceptible to illness, an increased consumption of alcohol, social and relationship difficulty and general depression.

Most people who suffer from SAD in the UK will start to experience it between September and November, and it could continue until the spring. However, some people also experience SAD in reverse, and they may start to struggle around March or April.

Tips to managing SAD

It is not uncommon for people with SAD to develop their own strategies to help them manage the condition. Making the most of any natural light, lifestyle changes including more exercise and a healthier diet and SAD lamps are common self-help ideas. It is also useful if you can reduce your levels of stress.