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Living Well

Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Common New Jersey Problem

Last updated: Dec 01, 2014

Do the shorter days, longer nights, and colder weather make you feel down? If you’ve answered yes to this question, you are among millions of Americans who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Find out how our therapists 
can help you with seasonal affective disorder.


Also known as seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder can include:

  • Sleeping more
  • Having difficulty waking
  • Feeling sluggish and sleepier during the day
  • Having less interest in your normal activities, including sex
  • Having difficulty concentrating, especially in the afternoon and evening
  • Feeling antisocial and irritable
  • Feeling depressed
  • Having a bigger appetite
  • Gaining weight

Seasonal affective disorder usually begins in the late fall, with symptoms that worsen during the winter months. But it also can affect people in the warm months.

Getting less sunshine and being less active are considered the culprits of seasonal affective disorder. But researchers believe genetics and hormonal changes also can contribute to the condition.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment

In addition to antidepressants, treatment for seasonal affective disorder can include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy can give you skills to think realistically, stay active and change your negative thoughts to positive thoughts.

Some people with seasonal affective disorder find that talking about their problems (talk therapy or psychotherapy) with a psychologist or licensed social worker can help lessen their blues. Light therapy using a seasonal affective disorder lamp that imitates the sun’s rays also can help manage seasonal disorder symptoms in some people.

If you think you have seasonal depression:

  • Ask your doctor about treatment options, including techniques to manage stress
  • Spend more time outside each day in the sunlight
  • Sit by a window in the sunshine
  • Get exercise and fresh air every day, especially in the daylight
  • Stay socially active