Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Hillary Norfleet   | October 2020

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, affects an estimated 10 million Americans each year. Females are about four times more likely than males to develop SAD and, although it is more common in adults, it can also affect children and young teens.

Winter Blues

Seasonal depression sets in as our Michigan days get shorter, and  2020-21 is expected to see a surge in SAD cases. We have already noted a significant increase in depression and attempted suicides. Added stress from social isolation, financial uncertainties, and general unrest mean that we must be on the lookout for signs of SAD in ourselves and others.

Symptoms include fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, and social withdrawal. Parents may notice a dip in their children’s grades, increased sensitivity to criticism, lower energy and sleeping more than normal.

How To Help SAD

As with other forms of depression, a supportive and encouraging environment is extremely important when dealing with seasonal depression. An accountability partner can help keep focus on goals designed to break the patterns of SAD.

Goals may include:

Increase physical activity

  • Spend time outside each day
  • Creative outlets (journaling, painting, etc.)

Sharing feelings with others is one of the best ways to overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, it can sometimes be difficult to discuss feelings of sadness and isolation with friends or family. We can help.

 How Therapy Can Help

If Seasonal Affective Disorder is suspected, an evaluation is the first course of action.   Together we will discuss symptoms and develop a treatment plan customized to you.  We are able to use the beautiful outdoor space available at our new office. Occasionally, SAD requires both psychotherapy and medication, and if that is the case, our staff will be happy to make appropriate referrals to prescribers.

Our goal is to help you manage seasonal depression by learning how to make positive changes in your thoughts and behaviors while teaching you coping skills.

Natasha Kendal, Ph.D., L.M.F.T. ©2021