Recent Blog Articles

Mind & Mood

Is my winter mood change due to seasonal affective disorder?

February 01, 2020

Ask the doctors

Q. Every winter I experience mood changes. How do I know if it's seasonal affective disorder?

A. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically affects individuals during the winter months. Some experts believe it's triggered by a reduction in natural light, which starts in the fall and continues until the spring. Tracking your mood changes can help your doctor determine if you have the condition. People formally diagnosed with SAD experience episodes of major depression that occur in the fall and winter for at least two years. During these episodes, people may feel hopeless or worthless, have sleep problems, or experience changes in appetite or weight. They may also be irritable or anxious and lose interest in favorite activities.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.