What is it?

Episodic mood disorder or seasonal depressive disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder that is related to season changes. Episodic mood disorder comes and goes at the same time of year, every year. Most people with SAD suffer from depression during the winter days. Risk factors include a family history of depression, having major depression or bipolar disorder, and living far from the equator.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Episodic Mood Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of episodic mood disorder include feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day appearing, usually, in the late fall or early winter. Other symptoms may include losing interest in activities, having low energy, sleeping problems, weight or appetite changes, agitation, feeling hopeless, guilty or worthless, frequent thought about death or suicide.


Diagnosis includes physical examination and medical history, lab tests to rule out other conditions and psychological evaluation.


Treatment may include phototherapy, used to cause brain chemicals changes that have to do with depression, medications such as bupropion and psychotherapy. Other treatments include mediation, relaxation techniques, guided imagery, and music or art therapy.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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