Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Despite how beautiful autumn may look, some people struggle to enjoy it due to Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD.

    • Persistent low mood.
    • Loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities.
    • Irritability.
    • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness.
    • Feeling lethargic and sleepy during the day.
    • Sleeping longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning.
    • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
    • Difficulty concentrating.
The exact cause is not fully understood. It’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect…
      • Production of melatonin – higher than normal levels of this hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
      • Production of serotonin – lower levels of this hormone that affects your mood, appetite, sleep and has links to feelings of depression.
      • Circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock is affected by lower light levels.
      • Some cases appear to run in families.
      • Get as much natural sunlight as possible.
      • Exercise regularly.
      • Manage your stress levels.
      • Use a light therapy lamp to simulate exposure to sunlight.
      • Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling may help.
      • Antidepressant medicine which your GP can prescribe.

You should contact your GP if you think you may be affected by SAD (and perhaps have been for many years and not done anything about it). Or you can find information on the NHS website: