Seasonal Affective Disorder
You’ve probably heard the term Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) before, but what exactly does it mean? SAD is a form of clinical depression with an onset that typically occurs within the winter months. It is said that the lack of sunlight typically seen in the colder months leads to depressive episodes. According to an article by Darren Cotterell, MBBCH, MSc, MRCPsych, SAD is generally believed to affect women more than men and the age of onset is usually between 20-30 years. 
Symptoms of SAD, much like depression, can include:
Emphasis on a healthy lifestyle.
While it is important to take care of your body by exercising and eating healthy year round, if you suffer from SAD try to put in an extra effort to maintain your diet during the winter months. Combating the feelings of depression with nutrient rich foods to provide your body the energy it needs is extremely beneficial.
Don’t shut yourself in.
It can often be difficult to find time in the short winter days to get outside- especially if you work traditional office hours, try to make a goal to go for a short walk on your lunch break. On days off, make sure you get out of the house at least once a day for a walk, coffee, or physical activity.
Surround yourself with loved ones.
Depression is an illness that can often lead to withdrawing from friends and family. If you begin to feel the symptoms coming on, reach out to your loved ones and speak with them about what is happening. Make it a priority to spend quality time with your loved one and allow them to help you through your rough time.
Seek professional help.
If you feel as though you are unable to combat your symptoms of SAD on your own, seeking the help of a mental health professional is highly recommended. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and/or light therapy are often recommended for individuals with SAD. CBT helps patients identify and incorporate enjoyable activities into their life, and explore and change negative thoughts and emotions associated with winter. In a 2016 Psych Central article by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. it is noted that light therapy and CBT are both effective ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder; however, CBT for SAD may be more effective than light therapy. A one-year follow up showed that participants treated with CBT were doing much better than individuals who were treated with light therapy alone. 
 Cotterell , Darren MBBCH, MSc, MRCPsych
Pathogenesis and Management of Seasonal Affective Disorder
 American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association- Seasonal Affective Disorder
 Tartakovsky, Margarita M.S.
Are You SAD This Winter? Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder
Dr. Diana Garcia
Dr. Diana Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychology. She has provided psychological and counseling services in Ontario, and the states of Pennsylvania, and Florida