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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): More Than the Winter Blues

As the days get shorter and there is less daylight, you may start to feel sad. While many people experience the “winter blues,” some people may have a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The first step is to determine how much your symptoms interfere with your daily life.

Do you have mild symptoms that have lasted less than 2 weeks?

  • Feeling down but still able to take care of yourself and others
  • Having some trouble sleeping
  • Having less energy than usual but still able to do your job, schoolwork, or housework

These activities can make you feel better

  • Doing something you enjoy
  • Going outside in the sunlight
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Eating healthy and avoiding foods with lots of sugar

If these activities do not help or your symptoms are getting worse, talk to a health care provider.

Do you have more severe symptoms that have lasted more than 2 weeks?

  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Gaining weight
  • Craving foods with lots of sugar like cakes, candies, and cookies

Seek professional help

  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Medications
  • Vitamin D supplements

For help finding treatment, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  at 988 or chat at .

National Institutes of Health
NIMH Identification No. OM 22-4320

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Presents information about how to recognize the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and what to do to get help. Points to

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is it just the 'winter blues' or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? This infographic may help guide you on when to seek professional help.  #shareNIMH

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