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How Do I Distinguish Depression From Seasonal Affective Disorder?

[6 Dec 2010 | 6 Comments | 33 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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How do I distinguish depression from Seasonal Affective Disorder?I was diagnosed with what my doctor said was ‘seasonal affective disorder‘ approximately 4 years ago, I was on anti-depressant medication briefly until my mom (I was a minor at the time) decided I didn’t need it anymore. The symptoms have continued ever since.

I seem to be in a constant state of decline regarding my mood – how do I determine whether it is really S.A.D. and not just regular depression? It doesn’t seem to occur at particular times of year, and I’m not sure if an overcast day affects it or not, I live in a rainy city so it’s overcast a lot. Was the doctor wrong?

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  • Iloveyahoohanswers said:

    you should get a second opinion.

    • Mary said:

      I thought that SAD was basically just a vitamin D deficiency. Might want to try supplementing – see if it helps at all. It certainly can’t hurt.

      • naughtybonita said:

        I have a friend who moved to nyc from San Diego and developed it. She is not on antidepressants but uses this light for about 15 minutes a day to help….do you feel better if you are outside and its nice? i think that may be the best way to tell. hope it helps

        • skywalker55 said:

          The only difference between SAD and depression is by definition seasonal variation. The concept behind SAD is that it occurs in the gloomier overcast months of the year and resolves during the summer. Chances are if your symptoms are persistent throughout the year, it is more likely to be depression. Now if you live in the Northwest where it is overcast 9 months out of the year, it is really hard to tell… you may consider moving to a sunnier locale.

          • lisa said:

            You can have symptoms of depression with SAD even in summer months if it is overcast. People who live in areas of the world that only get sun for limited times during the day or year can sometimes experience the symptoms year round. A common treatment for SAD, in addition to meds, is to give the person a light source for the home that mimics the sun’s rays. Have you ever tried this? You also might want to get a second opinion about your diagnosis.

            • Healing Magnets said:

              I found that sitting under a sun-lamp for about 15 minutes a day helped significantly, when I was suffering from SAD several years ago. Also, increasing your activity and getting a sufficient amount of exercise seems to help as well.

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