What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It’s September and the dark evenings are creeping up on us. In many of the workshops we design and deliver, employees ask us about SAD which is Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It has many of the same symptoms as major depression, including: loss of energy, change in appetite, tendency to oversleep, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Unlike major depression, it occurs seasonally, usually beginning in September or October and lasting through March or April.

The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you feel sleepy).

For those with mild cases, 30 minutes of exercise in the morning sun may be all that is needed to keep the winter blues at bay.

You should advise colleagues to consider seeing their GP if you think they might have SAD and they are struggling to cope. has more information and advice too.