Ever notice that your attitude and outlook start to darken when the weather starts heating up? Summer is a less-known condition that can affect your outlook and attitude. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons.
According to National GeographicPeople with summer SAD have trouble sleeping during the warmer months. This can lead to them becoming more agitated. They also lose their appetites, which leads to unhealthy weight loss.
Some 10 Million Americans are affected by SAD, just 10 percent of that group has summer SAD, according to WebMD. The majority of people who suffer from SAD are affected by their winter conditions, also known as winter SAD.
The SAD We All Know: Winter SAD
SAD sufferers feel that depression starts to creep in when the days are shorter and the temperatures start to fall.
People suffering from winter SAD may lose interest in activities, feel bored, have less energy, and feel depressed all day. This confluence of factors can lead to them becoming more sleepy, overeating, and avoiding social interaction. They can even become depressed. suicidal.
While it’s unclear what causes winter SAD, some speculate that Daylight Savings Time may be the culprit, at least to some extent.
Either way, the silver lining here is that, though they recur on a yearly basis, the symptoms of winter SAD aren’t permanent. The National Institute of Mental Health says they should resolve within four or five months for most people, if not sooner.
People think of people who suffer from SAD in winter. Few people consider the plight of those that suffer from summer SAD — many of whom may not even be aware that the condition even exists and that they have it.
What Is Summer SAD and Why Does It Happen?
Summer SAD is a seasonal affective disorder that causes irritation, depression, and insomnia during the warm months.
Every person is affected differently by the changes in the seasons, but some are more affected than others. Research suggests that those who live at latitudes further from the equator, which tend to have cooler climates (think New Hampshire), are more likely to be affected by winter SAD than their counterparts in warmer climates (think Florida). The study did not show any similar dynamic between summer SAD and the proximity to the Equator.
It is not clear what causes summer SAD. Experts do have theories.
In a Recent interview, Dr. Hanne Hoffman, PhD, suggested that the “intense light” in the summer, coupled with heat and humidity, can cause changes in mood. “One hypothesis is that the intense sun in some people overexcites your brain, which might cause anxiety, sleeplessness, and agitation,” Dr. Hoffman said.
Other Research suggests that summer SAD may stem from decreased levels of serotonin and melatonin, which knocks people off of their daily rhythms.
While summer SAD can be a devastating, major depressive disorder for those who experience it, the good news is that the condition doesn’t have to be permanent. Keep reading if summer SAD is affecting your ability to get up.
4 Ways to Overcome Summer SAD
If you’re feeling the summer blues, take comfort in the fact you’re not alone. Depending on where you get your data, there are at least hundreds of thousands, if not a million people, who deal with summer SAD each year in the United States alone.
Although summer SAD can be a difficult time, you may be able to make some adjustments to your day to mitigate its effects.
With that in mind here are four ways you can beat summer SAD and emerge a healthier person.
1. Spend some time in the shade.
Dr. Hoffman believes that summer SAD is influenced by the bright summer sun.
To counter the scorching summer sun, Healthline recommends seeking out darker rooms. You can reduce your exposure to sunlight and bright light, which may help to counter the effects of summer SAD.
2. Exercise and eat well.
Summer SAD can keep you on the couch longer than you’d like to be. It can also cause your diet to turn sour.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix, as long as you’re willing to be proactive. Research suggests that exercising regularly and maintaining a well-balanced diet can enhance your mood.
SAD symptoms can be controlled by increasing your exercise and eating better food.
3. Go to the movies.
Healthline suggests that summer’s bright lights can make your SAD worse.
This might not have been possible one year ago, but it is now. Movie theaters are opening their doors as vaccines continue to roll out as we move closer to the end of the pandemic.
Entertainment, darkness, and air-conditioning — all without having to increase your own utility bills. If you’re suffering from summer SAD, why not give it a try?
4. Talk to a professional.
If you’re suffering from summer SAD, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to tackle the problem entirely on your own.
By talking with a qualified healthcare professional, you may be able to figure out how to change the way you think about the summer months — and live a happier life because of it.
As you begin your search for a therapist to work with, it’s important to do your due diligence to find the one that’s best suited to your needs.
Looking for a therapist? We’ve got you covered. The GoodTherapy directory is designed specifically to make your search for a healthcare professional to treat your summer SAD easier. We’d love to help you Locate a qualified therapist in the area and put summer SAD behind you. Here’s to getting the most out of the warmest months!
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