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

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web About 5% of the population has seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that occurs as daylight hours decrease in the fall. USA Today, 5 Nov. 2022 For about one in 20 Americans, symptoms rise to the level of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, 5 Nov. 2022 Researchers believe melatonin plays a role in people with seasonal affective disorder. USA Today, 5 Nov. 2022 This includes general major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder and bipolar disorder. Nicole Pajer,, 10 June 2022 Since seasonal affective disorder comes with the changing weather each year, Kadera said students can help notice the recurring symptoms of depression by being aware of their emotional wellbeing throughout the year. Alexie Zollinger, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Mar. 2022 For some people, seasonal affective disorder can make things worse. Alex Janin, WSJ, 1 Feb. 2022 If the negative feelings happen at the same time for consecutive years, there is a chance an individual has seasonal affective disorder. Tatyana Turner, Chicago Tribune, 5 May 2022 Bupropion is approved for the treatment of adult depression and seasonal affective disorder, and to help people stop smoking. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of seasonal affective disorder was in 1983


Dictionary Entries Near seasonal affective disorder


seasonal affective disorder

season check

Cite this Entry

“Seasonal affective disorder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

seasonal affective disorder


sea·​son·​al affective disorder ˌsēz-ᵊn-əl- How to pronounce seasonal affective disorder (audio)
: depression that tends to recur each year chiefly during the late fall and winter and is associated with shorter hours of daylight
abbreviation SAD
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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