Harvard Men's Health Watch

Seasonal blues: Should you worry?

Seasonal mood shifts may indicate untreated depression.

In temperate climes, it's not uncommon to feel a downturn in mood as we say goodbye to summer, enjoy the falling leaves, and then reluctantly say hello to winter. In some cases of clinical depression, a man's symptoms may follow a clear seasonal pattern. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it's a less common subtype of major depression. It can develop in either the fall or the spring.

If your mood droops a bit as the winter holiday season approaches, do you have SAD? Probably not. Research has found that humans, like other members of the animal kingdom, can experience hormonal and other physiological variations in response to changes in the intensity and even the color of light. It usually passes.

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