Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a form of depression that comes and goes with the changing seasons. Primarily this disorder only affected individuals in the colder months. However, as the weather continues to get hotter outside, many people find themselves stuck indoors, and they are now feeling the effects of this disorder in the summer months as well. The great news is this is a treatable condition.
Symptoms Of Summer SAD
- Feeling Drained
- Mood swings
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Frequent thoughts of death
- Feeling suicidal
- Sleepless nights or oversleeping
- Inability to concentrate
- Fluctuating weight
- Increase or decrease in appetite
It is common for your mood to fluctuate. However, if you find that you have any of these symptoms for an extended period, you will want to speak with a qualified physician or psychiatrist who can help you better understand your situation.
What Causes Summer Depression?
The inability to get outside due to the weather can certainly put a toll on anyone. The lack of fresh air and sunshine can present issues that alter your circadian rhythm, also known as your biological clock. The lack of Vitamin D from less sun exposure promotes a drop in serotonin and melatonin levels. A change in these chemical levels present issues with sleeping and happiness.
This disorder has been diagnosed less within the male population than it has among women. As well SAD tends to affect younger adults in comparison to older adults. There are risk factors that tend to increase the chances of suffering from this disorder. For example, bipolar and depression disorders, family history, and the proximity of where you live from the equator have shown to play a role in who this disorder affects.
If you feel hopeless, then a great way to help yourself is to help others. Often, this practice will help you place your focus away from what is draining or stressing you. Find people that you trust and can relate to and work towards building lasting relationships that bring balance and support into your life.
What Happens If Summer Depression Is Left Untreated
- Problems at work and/or school
- Withdrawing from society
- Addictions or abuse of substances
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behaviors
Treatment For SAD
- Light therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as psychotherapy
- Music therapy
- Art therapy
- Relaxation techniques
If you feel down and out, then consider brightening up your personal space. It is helpful to open your blinds or sit near windows to incorporate the outside world into your home. Exercise is proven to help combat depression. It also helps to get outside as often as possible. If it is too hot in the daytime, then consider taking a stroll around your neighborhood in the evening once the heat of the day has started to dissipate. The main goal is to try to get natural sunlight into your life. This will help balance your biological clock and bring the chemicals in your body back into balance.
It is also essential to get out and socialize with friends and family. Planning a trip or vacation can also help improve your mood as well as mindset. Most importantly, you have to remember to take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, but do not overindulge in sleep. Reach for healthy snacks and enjoy well-balanced meals that will benefit your body and mind.
Make sure that you pay attention to the patterns regarding your sleep, diet, and thought process. Remember that you will have off days, but you should return to normal within a short time period. If the imbalances persist or you find that you are feeling hopeless for extended periods, then it may be time to seek guidance regarding your condition.
A qualified psychiatrist will offer assessments to help diagnose this disorder. They will also offer suggestions regarding your lifestyle to help you find balance in your daily life. If you are diagnosed with SAD, then they will offer medication management to ensure that you are overcoming this disorder in a healthy manner. Do not ever feel as if you are alone in your struggle with the changing seasons. Instead, reach out to loved ones and find a healthcare provider that can help you regain balance in your day-to-day life.