With summer comes sunny days and a brighter mood. Some people, though, experience the opposite. As the days grow longer, their thoughts and feelings become grayer.
Depression that lasts four to five months and occurs with the changing of seasons is called seasonal mood disorder. You may also hear it referred to as seasonal affective disorder. Most people experience these symptoms in the winter when the nights are darker and colder. However, according to the National Library of Medicine, about 1 in 10 hit their slump in the warmer months.
Summer depression is more common in tropical regions close to the equator. However, anyone, anywhere, can experience it. Fortunately, effective treatments are available. Learn more about causes, symptoms and treatments below.
What causes summer Seasonal Mood Disorder?
Winter depression is often blamed on shorter days and low light, which throw off the body’s natural rhythms. But according to the National Institute for Mental Health, experts are still working to understand why some people feel sad in summer.
- High pollen counts in warmer months could trigger inflammation
- Heat exposure may worsen symptoms
- Spending more time indoors when it’s hot reduces vitamin D levels, exercise, and social interaction, all of which impact mood.
Spotting the Signs
Some symptoms of mood disorders are similar, no matter the season. For instance, you may feel:
- Sad most of the day, every day
- Hopeless or worthless
- Less able to concentrate.
But in other ways, summer mood disorder differs from the cold weather version. Those who are sad in winter typically crave carbs and eat more overall. They tend to gain weight and sleep longer hours. If your depression hits in summer, you’re more likely to lose your appetite—and some sleep. You might also feel anxious and restless.
If your symptoms keep you from enjoying the summer months with your friends and family, talk to your primary care provider or mental health professional. Medication or vitamin D supplements could relieve your symptoms. It’s also important to stay moving, connect with friends and try therapy to get your happy hormones going and start feeling like yourself again.
You don’t have to suffer alone, in any season. At AdventHealth, we’re committed to lifting you up with whole-person care that aids your body, mind and spirit. For every obstacle, season and milestone, we’ll support you and cheer you on with guided treatments.
Visit MyHealthKC.com to find a doctor to help you overcome seasonal mood disorder and get back to feeling whole.