FAD: Football Affective Disorder – Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments

FAD: Football Affective Disorder – Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment

Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

I am convinced I have FAD, also known as Football Affective Disorder. It occurs when your football team is finished playing for the season. I first noticed it when I was coaching football; I would become depressed for about a month after the season as I readjusted back into non-football life. And now that my Vanderbilt Commodores are done for the season, I am feeling the effects of FAD. So, I am curious if others suffer from this same disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Football Affective Disorder (FAD) fans experience depression coinciding with the post-football season. Yes, there is bowl season, but when your season is over, you go through a withdrawal. You might be exhausted from weeks of travel during the season. But once you catch up on sleep and life at home, you will begin to crave the gameday experience almost as soon as you have a travel-free week.

Symptoms of FAD

  • Feeling depressed nearly every day for the first month in the postseason.
  • Feeling lost with no weekend game activities to look forward to.
  • Overanalyzing the bowl schedule trying to find teams to cheer for.
  • Wearing gameday lucky outfit as often as possible trying to recapture the joy of gameday.
  • Rewatching DVR’d games at least once a day.
  • Having problems getting excited about other sports.
  • Experiencing changes in your voices, which has finally recovered from a season of cheering.
  • Feeling agitated at fans whose teams make the College Football Playoffs.
  • Having frequent thoughts of the 2018 season and making travel plans.
  • Reading all the recruiting information you can, bonus: early signing period happens this month.

Risk Factors

Attributes that may increase your risk of FAD include:

  • Being an alumnus: FAD is diagnosed four times as often.
  • Being a parent: FAD is hard for the parents of players as well. They invest so much of their time into the season. Their saving grace is having other kids involved in other sports during the football offseason.
  • Family history. People with a family history of fandom are more likely to develop FAD than people who do not have a family history of fandom.
  • Living far from the team. FAD is more frequent in people who live farther away from their team. That weekly travel seems like a hassle during the season but, in the off-season staying home is a bigger struggle.

Treatments and Therapies

There are four major types of treatment for FAD:

  • DVR: LOTS of DVR’d football games from the season or even past seasons.
  • Countdown: Start a countdown to kickoff for next season. Watching the number dwindle is oddly satisfying.
  • Bandwagon: Pick a team in the playoffs and hop on their bandwagon.
  • Recruiting: With the new early signing period, this should help ease some of the FAD symptoms.

These may be used alone or in combination.


You know have the past season saved on your DVR. As well as the last several seasons.  Watch as many games as possible. Have them on in the background as you do stuff around the house.The sounds of your team playing will help soothe you.  Those games will start to fill the emptiness you are feeling. Only watch the games your team WON. This will help fill the void faster.


With the invention of smartphones, there is an app for everything. There are several countdown apps. Pick your favorite and start a countdown to kickoff of the first game next season. Also, start a countdown to spring football. This will be a guesstimate, but start a countdown until your team announces their spring schedule. You can readjust as needed. It is very satisfying to watch the days countdown.


You have four teams to choose from in the college football playoffs: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama. Pick one you like. Clemson is the defending National Champion.  Oklahoma is fun; they have the Heisman Trophy Winner, Baker Mayfield. Georgia is a great SEC team to cheer for. Alabama, in my opinion, should not be in the playoffs. So, cheer for anyone, but Alabama as they do not need any more bandwagon fans.

Bowl Month

Self-explanatory. You have a month of bowl games. You can watch football until your eyes fall out Cheer for any and every team that you can find a connection to.


Thank you, NCAA for adding the new early signing dates. December is now filled with hope as your team hosts up and coming football stars. Go and follow your team’s new players on Twitter and Instagram as they go on their official visits and sign their letters of intent. Watch their highlight reels on Hudl. You can overanalyze where you think they will make the biggest impact on your team in the 2018 season. This is a godsend for fans who suffer from FAD.

Keep Your Head Up

If you are experiencing any one, or a combination of these symptoms, you could be suffering from FAD. Although it is not a life-threating disease, it is a serious disorder that affects your life. Your friends may or may not understand your depression. They might laugh at you as you work through your FAD treatments. Keep pushing through. The early signing day is a couple weeks away. Then you have the college football playoffs followed by signing day number two. And before you know, it spring ball is here.

Main Photo Credit:

IOWA CITY, IOWA – OCTOBER 5: A fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes sits alone in an empty section following the match-up against the Michigan State Spartans on October 5, 2013 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State won 26-14. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)