When Your Worker Is SAD

More than the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder is a serious medical condition that may require accommodation

By Dana Wilkie January 21, 2016
  • Sources: The National Alliance on Mental Health, the Mayo Clinic and the American Psychological Association

  • No. 1: Fatigue or reduced energy

  • No. 2: Sad mood or loss of interest

  • No. 3: Sleep difficulty or excessive sleeping

  • No. 4: Craving and eating more starches and sweets

  • No. 5: Weight gain

  • No. 6: Difficulty concentrating

  • No. 7: Irritability

  • No. 8: Feelings of hopelessness or despair, and thoughts of suicide

It’s winter, and your normally prompt, productive and positive employee is showing up late, seems lethargic and forgetful, lacks enthusiasm for assignments, and appears agitated by innocuous things.

Is it just a simple case of the post-holiday blues—something that may resolve itself in a few weeks? Or could it be something more serious and persistent, like seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

The Mayo Clinic classifies seasonal affective disorder as a type of depression. The American Psychological Association calls it a serious medical condition related to changes in the season and a shortage of sunlight. Because the condition is recognized under disability law, employers may need to grant accommodations to employees with SAD.

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