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Depression Symptoms





What Are the Symptoms of SAD?

Millions of people suffer from a biologically based depression during the winter months. Although these people may feel fine or even "better than normal" during the spring and summer, late fall and winter are an entirely different experience. Beyond depressed mood, seasonal affective disorder - or SAD - often brings a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities that are normally satisfying, such reading a good book or listening to music. Other common problems are a significant reduction in work productivity (or immense effort to get tasks done), and withdrawal from friends and family that is hard to explain or justify.

Some of the symptoms of SAD are very physical. Appetite often changes in marked contrast to spring and summer. People can experience uncontrollable cravings for sweet and starchy foods such as cookies, chocolate, pasta and bread, which causes them to put on a few pounds (or more).

Dieting seems out of the question. Some notice marked changes in their need for sleep or ability to sleep normal hours. It can become tough to wake up in the morning in time for work or school, and daytime fatigue persists no matter how much sleep they get at night. Indeed, people who sleep the most often also report the most fatigue: long sleep is just not restorative. As the days grow shorter in fall, it is the physical symptoms of SAD - appetite, sleep, and daytime fatigue - that are usually the first to be noticed. The symptoms of depression then intensify (January and February are usually worst) and can lead to truly devastating, unjustified feelings of worthlessness or guilt, loss of concentration, inability to make decisions, and even thoughts of death.

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