Medical Definition of Affective disorder, seasonal (SAD)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Affective disorder, seasonal (SAD): Depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected persons react adversely to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress.

Seasonal affective disorder has not been recognized very long as a medical condition. The term first appeared in print in 1985. Seasonal affective disorder is also sometimes called winter depression or the hibernation reaction.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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