SAD (season affective disorder)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of winter depression that affects some people, particularly during the December, January and February months. It’s caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain – the reduction of sunlight and daylight hours is to blame. For many sufferers this illness prevents them from functioning at their best while some people experience a milder version of SAD, sometimes termed ‘Winter Blues’, which causes discomfort.

The main age of SAD commencement is between 18 and 30 years old, so it is important for you to begin monitoring your winter mindframe as early as possible.

The main symptoms you may experience if you suffer from SAD are:

  • Low mood

  • Anxiety/irritability

  • Oversleeping/tiredness

  • Lethargy

  • Less interest in sex

  • Difficulty coping at home and at university or college

  • Overeating with craving for carbohydrates/sweet foods

  • Avoidance of social contact

  • Weakened immune system with more risk of infection.


You’ll find that these symptoms begin in the autumn, worsen as winter moves along and then improve with the approach of spring. If you feel that you may be suffering from SAD speak with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder it is important to:

  • Get as much natural daylight (especially midday and on bright days)

  • Eat a healthy diet

  • Exercise regularly

  • Get plenty of sleep and relaxation.


Student counselling can help you to relax, accept SAD and cope with its limitations.