Tearfulness. Apathy. Fatigue. Negative thinking and anxiety. Most people are familiar with the behavioral and emotional presentations of depression. But Mood Disorder with Seasonal Pattern Specifier (previously known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)), can be overlooked or misdiagnosed precisely due to its hallmark–a connection to the change of seasons.
Season of Sadness
Fall is many people’s favorite season. The cooler air, radiant colors, and cozy sweaters bring joy and peace to fall fanatics. But the dawning of autumn, and the end of summer’s longer, light-filled days, can bring about a drop in mood, energy and affect. Most commonly experienced between summer and fall, Mood Disorder with Seasohal Pattern Specifier occurs less often as a result of different seasonal shifts. A trained medical professional or therapist can help clients discern the difference between a situational stressor and depressive symptoms that recur every year at the same time due to seasonal changes. Treatment may include a combination of short-term medication and therapy to develop skills to increase awareness of impending symptoms and develop a plan for mitigating the effects of adapting to the new season. Just because depressive symptoms can blow into our lives like the fall leaves carried by a strong wind, don’t assume you are consigned to emotional challenges for the next four months. A proactive plan can help keep your mood level and your energy stores high, so you can function at your best through every season of the year.