Symptoms of SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD,” is a kind of depression that appears seasonally, usually starting in the fall. People who have SAD may feel that they no longer enjoy life the way they ordinarily do, or that they just feel “down.”

If the symptoms last beyond a short period, then the condition may be depression. Symptoms of depression aren't tied to the seasons, but show up any time of year. Depression is more than feelings of ordinary sadness that result from a difficult life event. It is thought to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. People with depression find that the symptoms interfere with their relationships and work.

Treatment for SAD

There are several treatments for SAD:

  • Light therapy, where patients sit in front of bright full-spectrum lights for periods of time. 
  • Exercise, especially outside in the sunlight.
  • Antidepressant medication or counseling, or both.

If you think you may have SAD or depression, be sure to discuss treatment options with your primary care provider. And remember that US Family Health Plan members may self-refer to a US Family Health Plan network mental-health provider for up to eight outpatient visits in a Plan year. Call 1.800.208.9565 for a list of network providers.