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Diagnosis

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Visit your GP if you have symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Effective treatments are available if you're diagnosed with the condition.

Your GP may carry out a psychological assessment to check your mental health.

They may ask about:

  • your mood
  • your lifestyle
  • your eating and sleeping patterns
  • any seasonal changes in your thoughts and behaviour
  • whether your symptoms prevent you from carrying out normal activities
  • you and your family's mental health history

Your GP may also carry out a brief physical examination.

Confirming a diagnosis of SAD

SAD can be difficult to diagnose because there are many other types of depression that have similar symptoms.

A diagnosis of SAD can usually be confirmed if:

  • your depression occurs at a similar time each year
  • periods of depression are followed by periods without depression
  • you've had symptoms during the same time of year for 2 or more years in a row

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

page last reviewed: 23/09/2018
next review due: 23/09/2021

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