seasonal affective disorder


Definition of seasonal affective disorder

: depression that tends to recur chiefly during the late fall and winter and is associated with shorter hours of daylight abbreviation SAD

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Seasonal affective disorder hasn't been recognized as a medical condition for very long, and the term has only become part of the general English vocabulary during the past three decades or so (its earliest documented appearance in print dates from 1983). "Seasonal affective disorder" (abbreviated SAD) is also sometimes called "Winter Depression" and some researchers describe it as a "hibernation reaction" in which sensitive individuals react to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures of fall and winter.

Examples of seasonal affective disorder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sixteen years ago, Rosenthal, the Georgetown University psychiatrist, who’s known for pioneering the use of light therapy for seasonal affective disorder, felt his creativity slumping. Washington Post, 12 July 2021 Duckworth points out that clinicians have also seen mania triggered by other therapies for depression, such as light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Jessica Migala,, 28 June 2021 Less sunlight can affect your melatonin levels and your circadian rhythm, which can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to seasonal affective disorder, according to the American Psychological Association. Christie Griffin, CNN Underscored, 14 Mar. 2021 Correctly diagnosing seasonal affective disorder can take years, as recognizing a seasonal pattern in symptoms naturally requires time, so children, who are often newly experiencing symptoms, may not receive a complete diagnosis. Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2020 The lack of social activities due to COVID-19 has intensified the usual winter blues some may experience each cold season — causing various forms of seasonal affective disorder. Nour Rahal, Detroit Free Press, 25 Feb. 2021 According to Vaile Wright, senior director of health care innovation and practice directorate at the American Psychological Association, seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) is a type of major depression. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2021 After asking about her mental health pattern in previous years, Ms. Sands’ therapist eventually diagnosed her with seasonal affective disorder. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2021 What are the best ways to treat seasonal affective disorder? Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 11 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seasonal affective disorder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of seasonal affective disorder

1983, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of seasonal affective disorder was in 1983

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seasonal affective disorder

season check

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Seasonal affective disorder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for seasonal affective disorder

seasonal affective disorder


English Language Learners Definition of seasonal affective disorder

: an illness that makes people feel sad and tired during the winter because there is less light during the day

seasonal affective disorder

sea·​son·​al affective disorder | \ ˌsēz-ᵊn-əl- How to pronounce seasonal affective disorder (audio) \

Medical Definition of seasonal affective disorder

: depression that tends to recur each year chiefly during the late fall and winter and is associated with shorter hours of daylight abbreviation SAD


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