5 Signs of Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder

Major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern (MDD-SP), formerly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that usually happens in the winter when there’s reduced sunlight, but it can happen in the summer, too.

While MDD isn’t as common in the sunnier months, it’s believed that for people with bipolar disorder, manic episodes can peak in the spring and summertime. Moreover, changes in schedule and structure during the day and too much sunlight can throw off people’s circadian rhythms and hormone levels, which can lead to anxiety and stress.

Research suggests that people with SAD have problems regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for balancing mood. In the winter, your body may produce more SERT, a protein that assists with serotonin transport, but in the summer, sunlight can lead to lower SERT levels, which can cause depression.

In addition, remission of SAD symptoms can occur in the spring and summer if light therapy isn’t continued through the end of winter. Treatment for MDD-SP includes light therapy, antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and psychotherapy.

Doctors also recommend you plan ahead with MDD-SP treatment if you know you’re at risk for it by exercising more toward the end of the summer, doing therapy around September, and using a lightbox in October when the days get shorter.

To help you get the treatment you need, here are some common symptoms of MDD-SP you should know.

You’ve been oversleeping

The link between sleep and depression is complex because a variety of health conditions, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and heart disease, can cause someone to oversleep. But for people with MDD-SP, too much sunlight can throw off your melatonin production – the hormone that regulates sleep – so longer days mean you might have fewer hours to snooze, which makes you feel more tired and oversleep during the day. Oversleeping can, in turn, reduce your sunlight exposure as well and lead to anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, depression can also make it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. Many people with depression have insomnia. A 2019 study from Heliyon suggests that insomnia is associated with anxiety and depression, and that anxiety often acts as a precursor for insomnia.

Social events make you extra anxious

During the summer, your days might be filled with celebrations and parties, like weddings and graduations. These commitments can create a big gap between your own expectations and reality. You might feel stressed or anxious that you’re the only one who’s not feeling as celebratory or having as much fun as others.

You’re wanting more and more time alone

At the same time, the hustle and bustle of summertime activities can make you feel anxious around many people and crave more alone time. As a result, you might seclude yourself from others in fear of being judged by others. Studies have shown that social withdrawal is an early symptom of MDD-SP.

Be sure to make time for yourself every day and do something that makes you feel relaxed and happy, whether it’s lounging by the pool and reading a good book, or cooking a delicious, healthy meal.

You have low energy and are unable to concentrate

Sure, it’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed if many of your co-workers are out of the office on vacation throughout the summer, but if fatigue has been derailing your efforts to get things done around the house and at work, it might be a sign of MDD-SP.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, having low energy or fatigue, or feeling sluggish or agitated are common symptoms of major depression. Depression can cause decreased energy, as well as problems with memory and concentration.

You’re always moody or agitated

Do you catch yourself getting irritated over small things that normally don’t upset you? The heat can trigger some agitation, but if you find yourself raging or snapping at the most minor problems and can’t seem to shake the funk, it could be a red flag for MDD-SP. Check in with your doctor or speak to a therapist if you suspect you need treatment.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

READ NEXT

The Most Common Culprits Behind Your Heartburn

Whether you’re 17 or 71, odds are that you’ve experienced heartburn at least once in your life, if not more. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60

5 Simple Tricks to Save Money on Food

We all buy too much food and then throw it and this happens to us, because we don’t manage well our money and we are tempted at the grocery store.

5 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers

Infections Studies have proven that people struggling with advanced flu or other respiratory tract infections are five times more likely to suffer from a heart attack. In this case, what

6 Exercises to Improve Your Mental Health

Anyone who’s sat on a cozy couch across from a therapist has probably felt a whole lot of relief by the end of the session. The only problem? Afterward, you’re

6 Healthy Habits of Fit People

Even if DNA plays a huge role in body types, it’s more likely that those fit bodies you admire are more because of everyday healthy habits rather than good ol’

Coronavirus: Are Young People at Risk?

Part 1 As with most viral outbreaks, the people most at risk are the elderly and/or infirm and those with underlying health issues. Certainly in the current situation, when it

6 Common Symptoms of PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal imbalance in women who have higher than normal levels of male hormones. It affects 10% of women of childbearing age and is a leading

Simple Ways to Boost Your Morning Coffee

It’s essential to take vitamins, and, unfortunately, we keep forgetting to take them daily—but we NEVER forget about our delicious daily cup of coffee. Actually, we can’t start the day

Scroll to Top