Seasonal affective disorder, a well documented syndrome in northern latitudes, has limited credence in Australia
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as “winter depression”, refers to the recurrence of major depressive episodes (for a minimum of 2 consecutive years) during a particular season, typically winter.1 While the construct is widely acknowledged,1,2,3 the condition is not recognised as a stand‐alone mental disorder by current classification systems. Rather, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM‐5) includes “seasonal pattern” as a specifier for recurrent major depressive disorder,4 and the International Classification of Diseases, 11th revision (ICD‐11) has included “seasonal depressive disorder” under the category of “recurrent depressive disorder”.5 As such, the validity of the construct as an individual mental disorder remains debatable,6,7 with some suggesting the syndrome is a “temporary expression of a mood disorder rather than a specific disorder”.8 However, the condition’s potential as a stand‐alone disorder remains extant given both its continuous identification2,3,9,10 and the ongoing inclusion of seasonal pattern specifiers in diagnostic classification systems.
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