The operational criteria for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have undergone several changes since first proposed in 1984. SAD is currently included as a specifier of either bipolar or recurrent major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition has provisional diagnostic criteria for SAD. The most characteristic quality of SAD is that the symptoms usually present during winter and remit in the spring. Furthermore, the symptoms tend to remit when the patients are exposed to daylight or bright light therapy. The cognitive and emotional symptoms are as in other types of depression but the vegetative symptoms are the reverse of classic depressive vegetative symptoms, namely increased sleep and increased appetite. SAD is a common condition, but the exact prevalence rates vary between different studies and countries and is consistently found to be more common in women and in youth. SAD probably possibly occurs in children although not as commonly as in young adults. Some studies have found that certain ethnic groups who live at high northern latitudes may have adapted to the long arctic winter.