Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects people when seasons change, typically from summer to fall or fall to winter. According to Allison Lockard, counselor and certified victim's advocate at Florida A&M University's Sunshine Manor, SAD usually affects those who live in places that have the conventional four season cycle. "It’s a depression that comes with the changing of seasons," Lockard said.
Jessica Garibay, an information specialist for the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association, said that the symptoms of SAD are not much different from regular depression. "SAD symptoms are generally the same as any other form of depression," she said. "This may include prolonged sadness, significant appetite change, weight gain, loss of energy, feelings of guilt or indecisiveness, abnormal aches and pains, and thoughts of death or suicide."
According to Jermaine Robertson, an FAMU psychology professor, SAD affects people in cycles and they typically feel better once the season changes to spring or summer -- the change is gradual. Lockard said light therapy is the most effective remedy for SAD. "The purpose of light therapy is to mimic the sun," Lockard said.
Robertson said the SAD cycle comes and goes with the seasons, and some may only suffer from the disorder's cycle for a few years. "It is a transitional period, both coming in and going out, and people who suffer from SAD must realize that the cure is not immediate," he said. "A person suffering from SAD will not automatically feel better just because the spring equinox has begun. More severe cases may need hospital treatment."