There are many people who dread this time of year.  It is when people start to feel the effects of Season Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms include feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious, as though you have no energy, oversleeping, losing interest in otherwise favourite activities, weight gain and difficulty concentrating.

They only apply during the autumn and winter and tend to fade during warmer, sunny days.

A doctor can advise if your own symptoms are actually related to SAD and they might run tests to rule out other possibilities. However, there is no test to diagnose SAD.

For those who do suffer from SAD, the most effective treatment is an increased exposure to sunlight and many people purchase a light box, which imitates natural light. Another option that not everyone thinks of is psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).  CBT can help to pick out and change the thought processes that contribute to the symptoms.  It is all about spotting negative thought processes and helping us to replace them with more positive thoughts.

SAD is a long-term illness. However, psychotherapy and CBT can often help sufferers to cope with it.