Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern

Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern

Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD) is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern. The vast majority of those experiencing the disorder experience symptoms from late fall to winter, lasting about 4 to 5 months each year. It is called summer-pattern SAD for those who experience symptoms in the spring or summer months. For those struggling with this disorder, there is hope. Like other types of depression, there are treatment options that have been proven beneficial to many.


The signs and symptoms of major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern are associated with those of major depressive disorder. Common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Having low energy
  • Feeling depressed most days
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Specific symptoms for major depressive disorder with a winter seasonal pattern

  • Oversleeping
  • Overeating, and particularly craving carbohydrates
  • Social withdraw or distancing yourself from others
  • Weight gain

Specific symptoms for major depressive disorder with a summer seasonal pattern

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Poor appetite, leading to weight loss
  • Agitation

Treatment and Therapies

Treatment and therapies may vary but treatment plans commonly include:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used as it helps teach individuals how to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.
  • Antidepressants
    • Like other forms, this type of depression is associated with disturbances in serotonin, which selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to treat.
  • Vitamin D
    • Many people with this disorder often have a vitamin D deficiency. Due to this, nutritional supplements of vitamin D may help improve their symptoms.
  • Light therapy
    • Light therapy has been used since the 1980s to help treat this depressive disorder. Patients of this therapy sit in front of a very bright light (10,000 lux) each morning for about 30 to 45 minutes. 


Treating Depression

Depressive disorder, often referred to as depression, is more than just a rough patch or period of sadness in one’s life, but rather a serious mental health condition that is also one of the most common. The symptoms of depression can vary, but tend to commonly interfere with an individual’s day to day life. For those struggling with depression, there is hope as treatment is available and has been proven to make a difference. The following list features various common types of treatment used for treating depressive disorders. 


Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or counseling, is widely recognized as an effective way to treat depression.

There are various types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT helps change the negative thinking patterns one may have because of depression. IPT focuses on improving problems in relationships or other aspects of life that may be contributing to one’s depression.


For some people, antidepressant medications may help reduce or control depression symptoms. 

Types of antidepressants include:

    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the most commonly used type of antidepressant and include medications such as: Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and more.
    • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) which include: Effexor, Pristiq, and more.
    • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) which include: Wellbutrin and more.

More information and RESOURCES

  • We recommend talking to your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have.
  • To learn more about depression and the treatment used, we suggest the following links:
    • NAMI:
    • NIMH:



Depression: Signs and Symptoms

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a serious mental health condition that affects many individuals. It can cause changes in the way that one thinks and feels, interfering with daily life. Typically, to be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks.


The symptoms of depression may vary depending on the person and form of depression. Most people, however, find that these symptoms interfere with day-to-day life. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in sleep
  • Loss of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Change of appetite 
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

COMMON Forms OF Depression 

  • Clinical depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Postpartum depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Bipolar disorder


  • To learn more about depression, or find out if it may affect you, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read more about depression, the following resources are suggested:
    • NAMI:
    • NIMH: