Dealing with Depression in the Winter

While winters in California aren’t exactly known for snowy and cold conditions, they still present challenges as darkness descends at five in the afternoon, reducing the amount of daylight considerably. For some, this is an inconvenience that they ride out until spring makes its inevitable return. For those with a major depressive disorder that’s tied to the seasons — seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — winter is darker inside and out.

At our Fresno practice, Dr. Latif Ziyar specializes in a wide range of psychiatric and substance use disorders, including SAD. With to restore your quality of life, Dr. Ziyar provides you with the tools you need to cope with depression and seasonal changes.

Here’s a look at this form of debilitating depression and, more importantly, how we can help.

Beyond the winter blues

Seasonal affective disorder is often referred to as the “winter blues,” but the disorder goes far beyond simply feeling sad about the loss of abundant sunshine and longer days. SAD is a major depressive disorder that’s tied to seasonal changes, which means that your depression is more likely to strike during the winter months.

The symptoms of SAD are similar to depression and include:

As with depression, SAD has no template of symptoms and they often vary from one person to the next, both in terms of severity and quantity.

The bottom line is that we all feel like curling up on the couch from time to time during the winter, but if you’re plagued by one or more of the symptoms listed above and they’re interfering with your life, you may be dealing with SAD.

Getting help for SAD

Dr. Ziyar has extensive experience helping his patients emerge from the vicious cycle of depression, whether it’s related to the seasons or not. If you notice that your depression seems to be linked to the seasons, the first step is to see Dr. Ziyar for a full evaluation of your mental health, which includes any family history of mental health issues. This is important because 55% of those with SAD have a close family member with a psychiatric disorder, namely depression.

If Dr. Ziyar finds that your depression is tied to seasonal changes, he treats your SAD as he would a major depressive disorder, using a combination of:


Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy that provides you with the opportunity to explore what may be fueling your depression. By exploring your emotional health, your past, and your present, you and Dr. Ziyar can identify the problems that are holding you back and find solutions.


Several medications can help with SAD, including antidepressants. When it comes to medications, each of our patients is different and we work with you until the right combination of medications improves your mental health.

The most important thing you can do for your SAD is to take the first step and contact us at (559) 306-6726. Or you can request an appointment using our online scheduling tool.

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