The Truth About Seasonal Depression: Symptoms And Solutions

Updated March 6, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Discover The Truth About Seasonal Depression And The Symptoms

Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), might be a type of depression that appears to be related to seasonal changes, often starting in the fall and continuing through the winter months. Although it might be a widespread condition, it could be challenging to diagnose and treat, and many individuals could suffer from it without realizing what is happening to them. We will aim to shed light on the truth about seasonal depression, including its symptoms, potential causes, and possible solutions.

Symptoms Of Seasonal Depression

It might be essential to note that not everyone experiences the same symptoms of seasonal depression; however, some common indicators include the following:

  • Low energy levels and fatigue

  • Decreased interest in activities

  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness

  • Changes in appetite, particularly an increase in cravings for carbohydrates

  • Weight gain

  • Excessive sleeping or difficulty sleeping

  • Struggles with concentration

  • Social withdrawal

If you have been experiencing these symptoms for two or more consecutive winters and they alleviate in the spring or summer, it might be possible that you might have SAD.

Potential Causes Of Seasonal Depression

There might not be a sole cause of seasonal depression, yet researchers believe it could be linked to reduced sunlight during the fall and winter months. The lack of the sun could disrupt our circadian rhythm and lead to an imbalance in hormones such as serotonin and melatonin.

Other factors That Might Contribute To SAD Include:

Genetics: Individuals with a family history of depression might have a higher risk of developing SAD. This could suggest that there might be a genetic component to the development of seasonal depression.

Gender: Women might be more likely to develop SAD than men. This difference could be due to hormonal and biological differences, although more research might be needed to understand the exact cause.

Age: SAD might primarily affect individuals between 18 and 30. This time in young adulthood might involve significant changes and transitions, which could potentially lead to the development of depression.

Latitude: People who live farther from the equator might be more susceptible to developing SAD due to the more significant changes in daylight that they experience. This could disrupt their circadian rhythm and lead to an imbalance in hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, contributing to seasonal depression.

Personal history: Individuals with a history of depression or other mood disorders might have a higher risk of developing SAD. This could be due to a genetic predisposition or a history of negative thought patterns and behaviors, which could make them more susceptible to developing depression.

Possible Solutions For Seasonal Depression

If you suspect you might have seasonal depression, seeking assistance from a healthcare provider might be crucial. They could help diagnose your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Some Common Solutions For SAD Include:

Light Therapy

Light therapy entails exposing yourself to bright light for a specific period each day. This could help control your circadian rhythm and enhance your mood. It might be particularly helpful for individuals who live in the northern climates where there might be less sunlight. And they should be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider to ensure their safety and effectiveness.


Medication could be effective in treating SAD. To know which one might be best for you, it might be best to consult your healthcare provider.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, could help you better understand your feelings and behaviors and provide you with tools to manage them. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to potentially be effective in treating SAD.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to seeking professional help, there are several lifestyles changes you could make to help manage your seasonal depression potentially:

Exercise regularly: Exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression potentially.

Get outside: Spending time outdoors in natural light could help improve your mood and control your circadian rhythm.

Eat a healthy diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals could help boost your mood and energy levels.

Practice good sleep hygiene: Sleeping enough and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule could help improve your mood and energy levels.

Connect with others: Social support might be crucial in managing depression, so staying connected with friends and family might be essential. Joining a support group or seeking help from a mental health professional might also be beneficial.

Stay active: Engaging in activities you enjoy could help boost your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

Manage stress: Stress could worsen symptoms of depression, so it might be best to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.

Benefits Of Online Therapy

One significant benefit of online therapy, particularly psychotherapy, is that it could provide individuals with the tools to understand better and manage their feelings and behaviors. This is particularly relevant to individuals with seasonal depression, as they could experience a range of emotions and symptoms that could be difficult to cope with. By participating in talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individuals with SAD could gain a deeper understanding of their condition and learn strategies to manage their symptoms, potentially improving their overall mood and quality of life.

Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

The effectiveness of online therapy for those suffering from seasonal depression was recently studied in a randomized controlled trial which included 81 participants over the course of two years. Participants in the treatment group received 12 weekly sessions of CBT to identify and change negative thought patterns related to their SAD. The results showed that those who participated in online therapy experienced a significant reduction in symptoms compared to the control group, as measured by standardized depression rating scales. This indicates that online therapy may be an effective treatment option for individuals with seasonal depression when combined with other solutions such as light therapy and lifestyle changes. Overall, it might be necessary for people struggling with SAD to seek professional help and make lifestyle changes to manage their condition successfully. Online therapy can be an essential part of a comprehensive treatment plan for those suffering from seasonal depression, providing them with the tools they need to understand and

The truth about seasonal depression lies in its recognition, understanding, and management through professional help, lifestyle changes, and self-care.

Discover The Truth About Seasonal Depression And The Symptoms


Seasonal depression might be a widespread condition that affects many individuals, but it could be treated and managed. If you suspect you might have SAD, it could be crucial to seek help from a healthcare provider who could help you determine the most appropriate course of treatment for you. Whether it's light therapy, medication, psychotherapy, or lifestyle changes, many possible solutions are available to help manage seasonal depression and enhance your quality of life. Remember that you are not alone, and help is available. With online therapy, you could gain connection to professional support and the tools you need to understand and manage your condition successfully. With the right approach, seasonal depression does not have to limit your enjoyment of the season.


Q: What might seasonal depression be?

A: Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), might be a type of depression that appears to be related to seasonal changes and is likely to start in the fall and continue through the winter months.

Q: What could be some common symptoms of seasonal depression?

A: Some common indicators of seasonal depression might include low energy levels and fatigue, decreased interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, weight gain, excessive sleeping or difficulty sleeping, struggles with concentration, and social withdrawal.

Q: What are some potential causes of seasonal depression?

A: The potential causes of seasonal depression could include a reduced amount of sunlight during the fall and winter months, genetics, gender, age, latitude, and a personal history of depression or other mood disorders.

Q: What are some possible solutions for seasonal depression?

A: Some possible solutions for seasonal depression might include light therapy, medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, spending time outdoors, eating a healthy diet, practicing good sleep hygiene, connecting with others, staying active, and managing stress.

Q: Could therapy be effective in treating seasonal depression?

A: Yes, therapy, particularly psychotherapy, could effectively treat seasonal depression. 

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