Overcoming Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Do the dark winter months make you feel a bit down, more sluggish or sleepier than usual? If so, you could be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. In this podcast, we’re joined by experts from UW Medicine, as they explore this disorder and share the best available strategies to help combat it.

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Produced in association with UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics


Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of UW Medicine, their staff, or Patient Power sponsors, Patient Power partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor.  Please have this discussion your own doctor, that’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Well, some people are affected much more than that.  They can barely get out of bed, and it is just really tough, and that can be something called seasonal affective disorder or SAD.  Well, we have two family doctors with us.  We’re going to learn about that and what can be done.

So let’s start with Dr. Pamela Sheffield.  She is a family medicine physician.  She’s chief at the UW neighborhood clinic in Ravenna in Seattle.  Dr. Sheffield, welcome.  So if someone comes in what would be the things they would describe and you’d say in your mind, that could be SAD? 

The other thing we notice with people who have seasonal disorders as opposed to usual depression is that they’re hungry.  They’re eating all the time and sometimes craving carbohydrates, the kind of food that we tend to have in abundance around this time of year, the cookies and the pies and the breads.  Often these patients have gained weight.  They’re irritable.  They’re not having a good time at work.  Everything is bothering them, and they feel blue.

There have been some case reports of this actually happening in the springtime, although that’s fairly rare.  So what patients should be looking out for are the symptoms that they would associate with depression but happening more often in the fall and winter.

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