Do You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Or Do You Just Hate Winter?

I was recently interviewed for an article about myths vs. facts of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Most people who suffer from SAD experience symptoms in the winter months, and it being the dead of winter (at least here in Colorado), this can be a really tough time of year.

But how do you know if you have SAD, or if winter is just long, annoying and unpleasant?

Here are some of the symptoms of SAD:

  • Extremely low energy most days
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low mood
  • Having trouble sleeping/feeling sleepy a lot of the time
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Trouble enjoying previously enjoyable things

These symptoms come at a certain time of year with some predictability and regularity. Most people with SAD experience these symptoms in the winter months when there is less sunlight. But SAD also exists in the summer months when sunlight is plentiful.

SAD is NOT simply a dislike for winter, or a desire to drink hot chocolate and watch Friends reruns. It is a syndrome that has significant impacts on the the sufferer’s quality of life.

Check back in for SAD myths busted.

Snow and Mental Health

I guess not everyone dislikes winter!

I guess not everyone dislikes winter!

This has been a tough winter for much of the country.  Feet upon feet of snow and bitter cold temperatures, it’s enough to make even the hardiest of souls crave pool weather.  And if you live in a part of the country where (like Northern Colorado) spring is still at least a couple of months away, you might notice the weather taking a toll on your mood.

Many of us have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by low mood, problems sleeping, changes in attention and irritability during the winter months.  SAD is a real, serious mental health diagnosis that can be successfully treated using a variety of strategies.  These include psychotherapy, light therapy, and psychiatric medication.

But what about those of us who don’t meet the criteria for SAD but,


What are we to do?  How do we keep our moods up and irritability down?

What do you do to make these winter months bearable?