Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of major depression that is typically associated with the change of seasons. SAD can occur in the winter or summer months but is most common during periods of reduced daylight hours and colder temperatures. This psychological condition can seriously affect a person’s health and wellness. SAD can also act as a distraction and lead to a vehicle crash or workplace injury. Here are some warning signs of SAD and some suggestions on how to address the issue either for you or someone you know:

Recognize the Hazards

Major depression (part of SAD)*

  • Frequent and lasting feelings of depression
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Feelings of sluggishness or agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Family history of depression

Winter-onset SAD*

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Oversleeping
  • Cravings for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Age - young people have a higher risk of winter SAD

Summer-onset SAD*

  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Agitation or anxiety

Know the Defense

Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Open window blinds
  • Sit closer to bright windows
  • Communicate regularly with friends, family, and coworkers
  • Take frequent walks
  • Get outside, even if briefly, on colder days
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthier, portion-controlled meals and avoid carbohydrates

Medical treatment

  • Phototherapy (light therapy) - Sitting in front of a special light box that exposes you to bright light that mimics natural outdoor light may help improve your mood.
  • Medications - Doctor-prescribed antidepressant medications may help prevent depressive episodes.
  • Psychotherapy - Individual counseling by a professional psychologist can help you change negative thoughts and behaviors, manage stress, and cope with SAD.


Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.


The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.

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This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.