Mark Taylor*, a lawyer based in Pennsylvania, feels a distinct negative shift in his mood during the winter months. The winter blues may just be a mild inconvenience for some, but many people actually feel the onset of depression, fatigue and the need to withdraw from social situations during this darker, colder time – symptoms of a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
“I have never been formally diagnosed with SAD but I feel that I do suffer from it, and have since before I knew it was a diagnosable condition,” says Taylor.
Many different parts of the world experience long, cold winters and millions of people suffer from SAD. It affects about one to two percent of the population and usually runs in families, with women being more likely than men and young people more likely than older adults to develop the condition. The good news is that it’s treatable.