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Last week, we published a post about the Holiday Blues; one of the most important takeaways from that article was the difference between SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the holiday blues. Hopefully, many of our readers will be experiencing a reprieve now that the stress of Thanksgiving weekend is in the past. However, many others may indeed be suffering from seasonal depression, and fear that their symptoms won’t let up until the springtime.

Lindsay Holmes at Huffington Post has published an excellent article explaining SAD and what you need to know. Here’s our rundown of the most important points from that article:

1. SAD is connected to depression. For most sufferers of SAD, seasonal symptoms are only one component of a depressive disorder such as MDD or Bipolar Disorder. This should be kept in mind when considering treatment. Treatments that tackle the underlying depression, such as talk therapy, have been shown to be just as effective as treatments that treat SAD alone, such as light therapy.

2. SAD is serious. An estimated ten million Americans suffer from SAD; it is a serious mood disorder not to be taken lightly. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, a loss of appetite, sadness, and a lack of motivation. This can have a debilitating effect on productivity and physical health, as well as quality of life.

3. Not everyone is affected equally. Evidence suggests that SAD is more common in colder areas farther from the equator, such as the northern United States. It is also more common in women than in men. But don’t take anything for granted about this complex condition–it doesn’t always cause sadness, and doesn’t always even occur in the summer. There have been cases of patients becoming more anxious and irritable during the summer months, and at least one woman who experienced OCD flareups during the winter.

If you have experienced multiple episodes of SAD-like symptoms, please speak to a mental health professional.

Do you or a loved one suffer from depression? See if you qualify for Lincoln’s clinical research study on depression today!