Between the bone chilling temperatures and perpetual gray skies, it’s easy to feel a little blue during the winter months. But are you sure that’s all it is?

If you seem to hit a seasonal funk at the same time every year, it could be more than just feeling under the weather – you could have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a serious mood change that typically occurs during the fall and winter months, though it happens for some in the spring and early summer.

While the specific cause remains unknown, as with other mental health conditions, genetics, age, hormones and your body’s natural chemical makeup can play a role in the development of the depressive condition.

What are the symptoms?

Winter-onset SAD usually appears in late fall or early winter and goes away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Symptoms, which may begin mild and worsen with seasonal progression, include:

  • Appetite changes with weight gain (craving more carbs)
  • Oversleeping
  • Social withdrawal
  • Legthargic movement/Loss of energy
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Although there’s no way to prevent SAD, some home winter remedies include spending more time outdoors and making your environment sunnier and brighter. Above all, the best ways to cope include taking care of yourself, practicing stress management and sticking to your recommended treatment plan.
  •  I just thought it was the winter blahs. Do you like the summer or winter better?