Season Affect Disorder (SAD) is a sub-disorder under depressive disorder in the DSM-V as depressive episodes occur with season changes. Winter in particular seems to bring on depressive episodes. This disorder used to be its own separate disorder in the previous DSM, the DSM-IV, but has since been changed to a sub-disorder of depression.
To be diagnosed as having SAD, onset and remission of episodes must occur with only seasonal changes over a 2 year period. Over the individual’s lifetime seasonal depressive episodes must be significantly outnumber non-seasonal depressive episodes. The seasonal depressive episodes must also not be able to be explained by other psychological stressors such as seasonal unemployment or work schedule.
Other symptoms of SAD include:
- Prominent energy
- Weight gain
- Craving carbohydrates
Another potentially related disorder is bi-polar disorder where there is also a possible pattern to depressive episodes (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5®). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing.