As the days become shorter in winter, some of us suffer from excessive fatigue, over sleepiness and anxiety. Normally, this uneasiness goes away in a week or so. However, if it gets prolonged for a month, then it can be a health concern that needs serious attention. Maybe you are suffering from winter blues, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

'SAD' is a form of depression that occurs during the same season every year. The symptoms usually begin sometime during autumn and the depressive episodes extend throughout the winter months.

Here are the 5 facts you may not know about SAD.

1. Earth’s equator can influence the occurrence of SAD

girl sitting at a seashore at sunset
SAD mostly affects people who live towards the extreme north or south of the earth’s equator. Though the actual cause of SAD is not known, it could be due to fewer daylight hours in these regions, especially during winters. It is also believed that reduced levels of hormone serotonin and melatonin in the brain may cause alterations in the biological clock leading to SAD.

2. SAD can be hereditary

mom and daughter in depression

If SAD runs in your family, there is a chance that you may have inherited it. When you feel sudden lack of concentration, lethargy, loss of appetite, or interest in life, seek medical help immediately.

3. Women suffer more from SAD than men

woman depressed with man
Women are 40% more likely to develop winter depression than men. It could be because of hormonal fluctuations which are prominently seen in women. Also, women are more likely to look for psychiatric help while facing symptoms of depression, which is why more SAD cases are recorded among women.

4. SAD can make you crave for sugar

woman looking at cookies
Mostly, people crave for carbohydrates and sugar while feeling depressed. Sugar cravings due to SAD start during the fall and disappear in spring or summer. If your sugar cravings also change with the season and accordingly affects your mood, then this may be a sign of SAD. Consult a doctor.

5. SAD can also occur in summers

depressed woman
SAD symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and anxiety can also occur in summers. This is known as 'reverse SAD' or 'summer blues'. It is believed to be caused by sensitivity to heat or hormonal imbalances.

The happy news is that SAD can be treated with the help of light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy. Also, you should not forget the magic of natural sunlight. Get out of your confined closed offices and living spaces; indulge in outdoor activities and exercise regularly. Stay healthy, stay happy!

To know anything related to depression you can consult a Psychiatrist at

About the Author

Nameeta Renchi

Nameeta Renchi is a writer, journalist and a blogger with more than 5 years of experience in medical/ health content for newspapers and magazines. She has also written book reviews and features for various websites.

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