This condition is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression--usually beginning in late fall or early winter--alternating with periods of normal or high mood the rest of the year.
Typical characteristics of Seasonal Affective Disorder include oversleeping, daytime fatigue, carbohydrate craving and weight gain, although a person does not necessarily need to show these symptoms.
Additionally, a person can experience the usual features of depression, especially decreased sexual interest, lethargy, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, lack of interest in normal activities and social withdrawal.
Light therapy is now considered first-line treatment intervention. If properly dosed, it can produce relief within days. Anti-depressants may also help and can be used in conjunction with light therapy.
Click here for more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder, including patterns and treatments. Today the Wall Street Journal published this article on seasonal depression.
For information on other mental illnesses, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website.