Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is it the “ Winter Blues”?

If you’re like most people, you don’t feel or function as well in the winter months as you do the rest of the year. But how seasonal are you?

Here’s a pop quiz:
To what degree does your behavior, physical condition, or disposition change with the arrival of winter? On the following list for each item, score zero for no change, I for slight change, 2 for moderate change, 3 for marked change, or 4 for extremely marked change.

A. Sleep length
B. Social activity
C. Mood (well-being)
D. Weight
E. Appetite
F. Energy level

If your total score is 7 or less, don’t sweat it. If it’s from 8 to 11, you may suffer from a mild case of the winter blues.

Solutions:

• Spend more time outdoors.
• Add more light to your home and office.
• Get a light box.

If your score is 12 or above, your seasonality is interfering with your everyday life enough to warrant a visit to a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist for a diagnosis and discussion of treatment options.


Another sign you have SAD is that negative changes in your physical and/or mental condition:

• Occur in the winter substantially more than during other times of the year.
• Have occurred for at least two consecutive winters.
• Worsen on overcast days.
• Subside in the spring and summer.
• Cannot be explained by other factors, like job or relationship stress.


This questionnaire is intended to detect mood and behavior patterns associated with seasonal affective disorder. Remember, this is not a substitute for a visit with a qualified health professional.