Summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) usually means having depression during winter. However, it is possible to get symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in summer. Most often, it is the shorter days, longer nights and cold that cause SAD symptoms. But that’s not always the case. For some, the increased heat and greater sunshine bring them down. This is sometimes called “Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.” It can also be known as “summertime sadness.” Here’s what to know about summer SAD.
The first thing to understand is what is Seasonal Affective Disorder. Here are the most common signs of SAD:
- Lack of energy or motivation.
- Feelings of sadness or unhappiness.
- Changes in appetite. Either eating less or more.
- Sleep disturbances. Either insomnia or excessive sleeping.
- Increased anxiety.
- Loss of interest in activities.
- Increased agitation and irritability.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Suicidal thoughts.
This is not a complete list. Since everyone experiences depression differently, each person will have different symptoms. But anytime someone feels unhappy when the seasons change, it is likely SAD.
How Summer SAD is Different
Even though both summer and winter SAD carry many of the same symptoms, they are slightly different. Here’s how:
- Tiredness and desire to “hibernate.”
- Weight gain.
- Social withdrawal.
- Reduced appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Agitation and anxiety.
- Anger sometimes leading to violent outbursts.
As you can see, while the winter seasons can make people sluggish, depression during summer tends to make them more angry.
Why SAD Happens in the Summer
Research has not yet determined exactly why SAD happens to some people in the summer. However, there are some theories which explain people who have summer SAD. The most popular among these are:
- Discomfort from increased heat and humidity.
- Changes in schedule during summer. Specifically, changes in home life when children are not at school. Also, stress and disruption from vacations.
- Body image issues. These are worsened by less clothing worn during hot weather.
- Money troubles. Summer tends to cost more than winter.
- Feelings of missing out. Summer tends to be a highly social time. People who do not have rich social lives can often feel rejected and alone.
- Sleep problems due to increased hours of sunlight.
In fact, there are countless reasons any person might feel increasingly uncomfortable during summer. What’s more important is treating these feelings. By taking action against them, the problems they cause are lessened.
Coping with SAD
Whether you have SAD that shows up in winter or summer, it’s important to get help. Depression can easily turn fatal. This means taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Here’s some ways to cope with your SAD.
Talk to a Therapist
One of the simplest and easiest ways to handle depression is to discuss it with a professional. Whether you’re feeling down or agitated, they can help. They will be able to help you figure out why you feel the way you do and can help you come up with coping methods. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be useful at treating SAD.
People who already take antidepressants often taken a higher dosage during the season that causes them problems. If you don’t already take antidepressants, it might be helpful to discuss using them seasonally. This requires planning ahead. You may need to start taking the medication a month or two before the actual seasons change. This is because antidepressants can take up to 8 weeks to start working.
Exercise is always good for depression. However, with summer SAD it can be troublesome. If part of your unhappiness comes from body image, working out intensely might make you feel worse rather than better.
Though winter SAD might make you feel like you’re sleeping too much, it’s still important for your body. You might need the extra hours in bed. If sleeping in summer is a problem, take extra steps to ensure you’re getting enough downtime. Use blackout or thermal curtains to help reduce light in your bedroom. Avoid letting vacations or evening gatherings interfere with your bedtime. Consider taking naps in the heat of the day to avoid the irritating hotness.
If You Need Help
Summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder is dangerous. Luckily, we can help. Our facility has a whole range of health and wellness programs that can aid you. To begin with, we can provide a full evaluation for you and make recommendations to help you get through the tough months with as little pain as possible. We are also able to suggest medications and holistic treatments that can reduce your depression. What’s more, we have therapists capable of helping you identify and address the causes of your SAD. There’s no reason to spend another season in pain. Contact us today and let us assist you.