‘Sad’ Is A Genuine Mental Health Condition, Insists Mind

Mind, a mental health charity, has launched an information pack to raise awareness about seasonal affective disorder (Sad) and its effects. Many people feel depressed at this time of year and an unfortunate few can become severely so, due to the effects of the wintry season. Yet despite all of the evidence available, many ignore their feelings for fear of ‘looking silly’.

One anonymous member of the public confessed: “For years I suffered from depression. It started in the autumn, as the evenings drew in. By Christmas, I would
be so low that I could barely get out of bed.”

According to  Mind’s information pamphlet, around 20 per cent of cases are fairly mild and are known as the ‘winter blues’, or sub-syndromal Sad, occurring mainly during December, January and February. But between two and five per cent of cases have severe Sad and can’t function during the winter without continuous treatment.

Sad could affect as many as one in three of us, but all too often the illness goes undiagnosed. Symptoms include depression, lethargy, increased appetite, erratic sleep patterns, mood changes, concentration problems and anxiety.Treatments can vary, from fairly light actions such as talking therapies, to slightly more aggressive strategies like bright light therapy and anti-depressants.