Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
What is SAD?
Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD) is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression in late fall and winter, alternating with periods of normal mood the rest of the year. The key to an accurate diagnosis of this condition is recognizing its pattern. Symptoms usually begin in October/November and subside in March/April. Some people begin to experience a “slump” as early as August, while others remain well until January. Regardless of the time of onset, most people don’t feel fully “back to normal” until early May.
For a diagnosis to be made, this pattern of onset and remission must have occurred during at least a two-year period, without the occurrence of any non-seasonal episodes during that same period.
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