Seasonal Affective Disorder and Addiction

SAD May be Linked to Substance Abuse and Addiction

Those who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are more susceptible to the disease of addiction. Seasonal Affective Disorder is classified as a mental illness which means it requires the help of treatment, therapy, counseling, and even prescription medication in order to overcome. Studies have shown that those who struggle with a mental illness are almost 70 percent likelier to resort to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Seasonal affective disorder is classified as a mood disorder that takes place at a certain time each year. SAD occurs when there is a lack of melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D in the body’s system. Typically, SAD occurs in the cold winter months when days are short and nightfall comes early in the day. Individuals who reside in climates that have only a few hours of sunlight per day are at risk of developing SAD. 

Symptoms of SAD

Some of the common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Becoming socially isolated
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite

If you or someone you know is showing signs of SAD, it’s important that they receive immediate attention. If they do not get the help that they need, they may resort to substances of abuse in order to ease their symptoms. This could mean consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or abusing prescription drugs in an effort to dumb their symptoms. This is a very dangerous habit that can turn into addiction quickly. 

Risk Factors 

Certain individuals are more prone to SAD than others. Individuals who live further away from the equator are at a higher risk fo getting SAD than those who live closer to the equator. This is because the closer you are to the equator, the longer the days are which means more sunlight. Some other risk factors are:

  • Age (those who are between the ages of 18 and 40 are more likely to develop SAD which can carry on well into their adult years)
  • Family History (Those who have a family history of SAD are at higher risk for developing it)
  • Gender (females are more likely to develop SAD than males)
  • Existing mood disorder (If you have depression or any other sort of mood disorder, you are at higher risk for developing SAD)

Self-medicating is also a major problem in those who struggle with SAD. since individuals who struggle with this illness possess feelings of loneliness and depression, they may resort to drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb the symptoms. This can turn into a very bad habit over the course of time which is why it’s so important to get professional help as soon as you realize that there is a problem.

Getting Help Now

There are many treatment options available for those who are struggling with SAD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, and phototherapy are just a few of the many treatment options available. If you or someone you know is struggling, it’s important to get the help needed right away before the symptoms worsen.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.