Do I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Winter has a way of making the most energetic of us feel a little sluggish from time to time, but for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the colder weather can be debilitating. From extreme fatigue to severe depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder often requires professional treatment. You've come to the right place if you've been wondering about your SAD levels. While we're not medical professionals, we've compiled a series of questions to help you understand whether or not you're suffering from SAD. As you go through this quiz, we'll compare your results to the most common symptoms of the disorder. By the time you've finished, we'll be able to tell you if you're having a bad day or if you might want to see your doctor.

History lesson

Who said we've got SAD?

Norman Rosenthal, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1948, moved to the United States in the 1970s to complete his medical residency at New York State Psychiatric Institute. After residency, he joined the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as a researcher.

He identified and named Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at the NIMH. He found that shorter days and reduced sunlight during winter months could trigger depressive episodes in some individuals. This discovery significantly advanced the understanding and treatment of SAD.

In addition to defining SAD, Rosenthal developed light therapy to treat the disorder. Recognizing that symptoms of SAD often improved with increased sunlight exposure, he theorized that artificial light might have a similar effect. His development of light therapy, involving exposure to bright artificial light, is now a standard SAD treatment.

Rosenthal's research also extended to other areas of mental health, including exploring the effects of botulinum toxin, or Botox, on depression. He significantly contributed to understanding and treating Bipolar Disorder as well.

He is a prolific author with several books explaining complex mental health issues in accessible language. His most well-known book, "Winter Blues," delves into SAD and provides practical advice for those suffering from the disorder.

Rosenthal retired from the NIMH but maintains an active psychiatric practice in Maryland, treating patients and conducting research. His work on SAD and his commitment to mental health care have profoundly impacted psychiatry.

Did you know?

Seasonal affective disorder lasts longer than a season

Seasonal Affective Disorder is marked by periods of fatigue, depression, changes in appetite, and difficulty sleeping. Typically affecting more women than men, science has found a correlation between the body's need for light and the lack of it during shorter days. The body's natural circadian rhythm is often interrupted and causes havoc to susceptible persons. When this happens, sleep cycles, weight loss or gain, and a feeling of hopelessness can ensure. While you might think many people can't be affected by a naturally occurring event, Seasonal Affective Disorder affects more than 5% of the population. It's on par with other joint disorders like anxiety or depression. Even though we associate Seasonal Affective Disorder with the late fall and winter months, studies have shown that it can last much longer. Most people with SAD are affected for at least 40% of the year.

How to Play?

Our personality quizzes are set up a little differently than your basic trivia quiz, but you’ve probably seen their kind around. Rather than having to choose the right answer from a list of multiple choice options, in this case, there is no “right answer”! (Two plus two will always be four, but every Golden Girls character is equally awesome.)

So, stop stressing. Just click on the answer that suits you best, and enjoy the ride. These quizzes are just for fun but who knows – you might just learn something about yourself along the way!

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