How to recognize S-A-D in yourself and others, and when to take action

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – It’s not a new statistic that depression rates escalate as we move into the winter months.

What is commonly referred to as the ‘winter blues’ is actually much more intense for some individuals who experience S-A-D, or seasonal affective disorder. 

SAD refers to a type of depression that is on set by seasons changing. As we recently entered into a new season, Dr. Daniel Williams with Omni Community Health said it’s important to understand the signs of depression so you know when to take action.

“So, seasonal affective disorder is something that does tend to start to really show itself this time of year. That really has to do with the change in the amount of sunlight that’s available to us and, as the days get shorter, some folks start to struggle more with their mood,” said Dr. Williams. “There there can be a tendency for some folks to really start to struggle with with their mental health, and some folks can start to have some thoughts about wanting to hurt

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themselves. Usually, some of the signs and symptoms that you’ll see, somebody will start to withdrawal more. They’ll become more isolated and depressed. There may be a change in sleep patterns and they’re not eating. Just sort of, there can be this sort of general malaise that starts to occur in folks and nothing really seems to really kind of pull them out of that.”

When you spot withdrawal in a friend or family member, Dr. Williams said a simple action showing your interest in their life can make a big impact.

“So, I think one of the, the biggest things that folks can really do to help others that are struggling with this sort of thing is to check in with them. Really try and get those folks to engage and you know, offer to take them out to eat, spend some time with them. Doing those kinds of small things can really make a big difference,” said Williams.

Suicidal thoughts don’t always present themself plainly, sometimes they are just thoughts of wanting to disappear or feeling like you have no escape. Dr. Williams said knowing when to recognize these and asking for help can be life saving.

“You really want to start to become more concerned when thoughts around, going to sleep and not waking up, occur on a repeated basis, and start to increase in frequency and intensity. Those are some of the signs that maybe there’s a bigger problem going on,” said Williams.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts you can reach out the new national 9 – 8 – 8 suicide hotline. For a full list of Omni’s mental health services you can visit their website

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