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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 do 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
  • your symptoms and if they stop you from doing normal activities
  • you and your family's mental health history

Your GP may also do a brief physical examination to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

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 happens 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: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025