Family Matters- USFHP Blog

Addressing Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted by USFHP on Dec 2, 2021 12:15:00 PM

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons that are often mistaken as "winter blues" or a seasonal funk, but this is not always the case. Approximately 5 percent of Americans experience seasonal depression every year. For some, they might feel unmotivated, restless, and isolated during the shorter, darker days of winter. SAD is a subtype of depression or bipolar disorder that typically occurs when the seasons change and symptoms reoccur. There are some differences between winter SAD and summer SAD, but it's always best to maintain a steady mood throughout the year and seek assistance before conditions worsen.

Some symptoms include:

  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Overeating or no appetite 
  • Social withdrawal and feeling isolated

Those who suffer from, or have a family history of, mental wellness issues might also be at risk of SAD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, SAD is a type of depression with a recurring pattern, not a distinct behavioral health challenge. Typically, those who are suffering from SAD can take preventative measures to reduce the symptoms. It is recommended to get some sun during sunny days or visit with family and friends. However, going out is not as easy and stress-free as it used to be. More people might feel the effects of SAD due to the pandemic and find it harder to cope. 

A simple check-in with someone you trust goes a long way, whether by phone, text, or social media. It creates a safe environment where anything can be discussed. Whether asking for support or offering it, sharing your experiences will make you feel less alone, opening the door for healing to begin. 

Speak with a trusted healthcare provider for more personalized recommendations and get referred to a behavioral health provider if feelings of loneliness and depression continue. USFHP provides behavioral health benefits with access to one-hour outpatient therapy up to twice a week. 

With our TRICARE Prime plan USFHP members receive: 

  • Quick and easy specialty referrals
  • Same-day urgent care appointments
  • An extensive network of providers and facilities close to your home
  • Low-cost eyeglasses, preventive dental services, or gym membership


USFHP’s Open Season currently runs through Monday, December 13, 2021. Enroll today! Visit or call 1-800-241-4848 for help finding a provider or assistance scheduling an appointment.

Topics: Winter, mental health, mental wellness