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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Diagnosis

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

Page last reviewed: 24/09/2018
Next review due: 24/09/2021

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