Seasonal Affective Disorder can be serious

Are you SAD?

If so, you're one of thousands of Canadians (almost four million North Americans) who are suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that can be so debilitating that it can compromise your quality of life.

SAD is more than the "winter blues," says Dr Robert Levitan, a senior researcher in the mood and anxiety division of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

"People drop out of school, become unemployed, have trouble with relationships. It can be very serious, says Levitan who is also an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

This seasonal form of depression is linked to decreased daylight at this time of year and Levitan says that many people don't take SAD seriously.

"People think they are supposed to feel lousy in the winter. Many feel some changes but don't think of what they feel as out of the ordinary," Levitan says.

HEALTHbeat, an online newsletter from Harvard Medical School in Boston, says symptoms may include loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, inability concentrate, and an uncontrollable urge to eat sugar and high-carbohydrate foods. For many, SAD begins in the fall, worsens in the winter, then lessens in spring.

Share this with your friends