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Seasonal Affective Disorder

For some individuals, their Major Depressive Episodes tend to occur at a similar time every year.   In most of these cases, the Depression will begin in the fall or early winter and resolve virtually completely by the spring or summer.   If a person experiences this sort of pattern for at least two consecutive years, and without Major Depressions occurring at other times in the yearly cycle, then according to the DSM-IV-TR a diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder can be made.  Another name for this is Depression with a Seasonal Pattern.

Seasonal Affective Disorder seems to be more common in men than in women [ref], and is also more common among people living in higher latitudes where there is less sunlight during the winter months [ref].  Atypical Features, especially over-eating and over-sleeping, tend to characterize these types of Depressions. Up to 20% of individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder will have an underlying Bipolar Disorder [ref], and so it is important to identify any Hypomanic or Manic Episodes that may be occurring in the summertime.

 

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Postpartum Depression

Dysthymia