Psychologists Sydney / Depression / Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal form of depression that appears during periods of lower winter light and few daylight hours. Recent research has revealed that reverse SAD can occur during summer. Find out what counsellors, psychologists or therapists can do to help sufferers.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Long months of cold weather often have us yearning for Spring and the warmer months. We look forward to hanging up our jackets and overcoats, and slipping on a pair of shorts and thongs! But for some people, particularly those living in climates which experience long periods of short, cold days, these feelings can become deep-set and signal the onset of a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a mild form of depression which affects people in the winter months.

Who is susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Individuals with a family history of seasonal depression, who are female or who live in a geographical region with short winter days and long winter nights are most susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Although Seasonal Affective Disorder is more often diagnosed in the Northern Hemisphere of North America, Russia and areas where long dark winters are common, individuals living in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere may also find themselves suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a comparatively mild form of depression, but can have extremely detrimental effects during the months when a person is affected by the illness. Common symptoms include:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased desire and need for sleep
  • Increased appetite, particularly carbohydrates, resulting in weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest in sexual activities
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoy activities and interests
  • Problems with concentration or completing projects

The symptom that sets Seasonal Affective Disorder apart from other forms of depression is that the illness is limited to seasonal onset and is relieved upon the change of seasons. In many instances, Seasonal Affective Disorder is experienced by the sufferer for several years before being formally diagnosed, although treatment upon onset is recommended to relieve symptoms and to help individuals return to a fully functional life. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

What is reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Although Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common, in recent years research has revealed that a small number of the population is subject to Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, which occurs during the sunny days of summer. Although many symptoms are similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder, the distinguishing feature, aside from occurring during sunny months instead of winter, is anxiety and agitation as well as physical symptoms like stomach aches and headaches.

Individuals who are subject to this mood disorder complain of feelings of anxiety, unplanned and unintentional weight loss, decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities, headaches and stomach aches. In general, individuals who complain of Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder live in regions with a high percentage of sunny days and where daytime and evening temperatures are unusually high and do not drop appreciably during nighttime hours. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

How are seasonal affective disorder and reverse seasonal affective disorder treated?

Counselling with a professional counsellor or psychologist can help you understand how Seasonal Affective Disorder or Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder affects you and help you acquire healthy coping skills for your seasonal depression. Counselling can also help you develop an annual self treatment plan so as to prepare you for the change of seasons every year. This can include practical self care plans like going for walks every afternoon when the weather is sunny, or planning for weekend trips to places where the evening temperatures are better for your health. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

What do I do if I think I have seasonal affective disorder or reverse seasonal affective disorder?

If you or someone you know might be suffering from depression caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder or Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, you may want to talk to qualified counsellor or therapist. For more information, please contact Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney.

Common mispellings and alternative search terms used to find this page include: Seasonal Effective Disorder Revrse Seasonal Effective Disorder; Seasonal Affective Disorder Counseling; Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder Counseling; Seasonal Dipression; Sydney Councilling for Seasonal Depression.


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