A change of seasons often prompts a short-lived change in mood or behavior, such as feeling active with the onset of warm weather or tired when the first frost hits.
This is called seasonality, and most people experience it. When clinical depression sets in at a season’s start and goes into remission at the end, it is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Thankfully, those who have this mood disorder don’t have to wait until a change in season to find relief.
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Seasonal affective disorder is not considered a separate disorder, but rather a subset of depression — either major depression, bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder, said Dr. Robert Gonzalez, a psychiatrist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center who specializes in mood disorders. Typically, it starts in the fall or early winter months and continues throughout the winter.
Similarly, people with bipolar disorder can experience hypomania or mania that follows a seasonal patter. Symptoms of SAD include feeling depressed most of the day, every day, as well as feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt. More subtle symptoms may include losing interest in activities, feeling sluggish or lethargic, sleeping much of the time and experiencing weight gain.
While less common, the onset of spring or summer may also trigger SAD. In those cases, patients are more likely to have mania. Symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety and weight loss.
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If you are dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder or other related issues, please call today to schedule an appointment and find out about the various options that can help Treatment for Mood Disorders in NYC.