The prevalence of this condition appears to vary with latitude, age and sex:
Although not everyone experiences all the following symptoms, the classic characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern include:
The key to an accurate diagnose of this condition is recognizing its pattern. Symptoms usually begin in October/November and subside in March/April. Some people begin to experience a “slump” as early as August, while others remain well until January. Regardless of the time of onset, most people don’t feel fully “back to normal” until early May.
As with most depressive disorders, the best treatment includes a combination of antidepressant medications, cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise. Unlike other depressive disorders, this condition can also be treated with light therapy. Light therapy consists of regular, daily exposure to a “light box,” which artificially simulates high-intensity sunlight. Be aware that ordinary indoor light is not sufficient to treat this condition
*Some people may require treatment only during the time of the year in which they experience symptoms, or they may need treatment that begins before symptoms are most severe. Others may choose year-round treatment.
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