Psychotherapist and Behaviour Skills Specialist Hvovi Bhagwagar describes SAD as a clinical depression triggered by gloomy weather: “Such people are pre-disposed to depression, so today, experts believe it is a ‘depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern’ that seems to reduce once the season changes. People affected by SAD are cheerful and active predominantly through the year but start displaying signs of depression in winter (or in the monsoon in India).”

She adds that SAD is often mis-diagnosed as mood swings and is caused by a lack of light absorption. The hormone Melatonin, which is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythms), shows disrupted levels in SAD sufferers, so their body cannot distinguish between day and night. “The body does not know when to wake up. Research also suggests that patients may have genetic and environmental predisposition to SAD,” explains Bhagwagar.

Featured in Mid-Day, June 18, 2013.