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Clinical Chronobiology Group

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SAD Case Descriptions

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Do you experience wintertime symptoms of depressed mood and fatigue, accompanied by at least some of the following:

  • carbohydrate cravings (especially for sweets and/or starches)
  • weight gain
  • oversleeping or difficulty awakening in the morning
  • reduced work productivity
  • withdrawal from social contacts?

Are these symptoms largely absent in the late spring and summer months? If so, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Everyone gets 'the winter blues' -- what's different about SAD?

Many people complain of feeling down, having less energy, putting on a few pounds, and having difficulty getting up in the morning throughout the dark, short days of winter. People suffering from SAD experience these and other symptoms to such a degree that they feel unable to function normally. They often feel chronically depressed and fatigued, and want to withdraw from the world and to avoid social contacts. They may increase their sleep by as much as two hours or more per day, have greatly increased appetite--sometimes accompanied by irresistible cravings for sweet and starchy foods--and gain a substantial amount of weight. Women frequently report worsening of premenstrual symptoms. People with SAD suffer in the extreme the kinds of changes that many others experience to a much lesser degree in wintertime.

An individual SAD sufferer, however, need not show all the symptoms described above (for more information link to our individual case descriptions). Sleep duration, for example, may be normal, while carbohydrate craving may be extreme, or vice versa. Sometimes a symptom in the cluster is actually opposite the norm, such as insomnia as opposed to excessive sleep. A diagnosis of SAD requires a professional evaluation by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. We caution against attempting self-diagnosis; it is easy to misinterpret symptoms or incorrectly rate their severity.


If you think you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and are interested in being evaluated for treatment by the Clinical Chronobiology Group, please follow the link below to receive our screening questionnaire.

Note: Treatment by our group is restricted to metropolitan NY/NJ/CT area residents only. If you live outside this area, please follow the "Other SAD Centers" link on the menu to the left.