Just as summer is heading into it’s second month and everyone is talking about vacation time, how wonderful the weather is, and are busy planning weekend get aways and plans you’re just not into summer. And you’re feeling anxious jittery and blah. What’s going on? Do you have the Summer Blues in August?
Believe it or not you might have the Summer time blues. While we’re all heard of Season Affect Disorder (SAD) in the winter months, you might be surprised to hear summer has it’s own SAD. It’s called Reverse Seasonal Affect Disorder.
1) What is Reverse Seasonal Affect Disorder
Summer SAD is when someone finds themselves feeling hopeless, unexplainably irritable or agitated as the temperature rises and the days get longer. And if you haven’t heard of Reverse Seasonal Affect Disorder it’s because it affects a very small percentage of the population. Less than 1% of all SAD cases are Reverse Seasonal Affect Disorder. Surprisingly Summer time blues affects people who live the closer to the equator.
2) Signs you have reverse SAD
What are the signs of summer blues? Well does your mood decrease as the days grow longer?
Do you experience
– experience insomnia
– poor appetite, and weight loss
– grow agitated
– sudden mood swings
– easily frustrated
– Low Mood until the cool fall weather returns
– Difficulty coping with the heat and humidity
– Increase sex drive
– hopeless, worthless, depressed, and uninterested in activities you previously enjoyed
3) Potential causes of SAD
Not a lot of research has been done on the causes of Reverse Seasonal Affect Disorder. Here are some potential causes
1) Seasonal allergies – and unfortunately we see increase in suicidal ideation and suicides when the allergy season peaks
2) Lack of sleep – people might stay up later in the summer, throwing their sensitive circadian rhythms for a loop. Longer days means you wake up earlier with the early morning sun. When your sleep deprived your body releases more of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can contribute to depression and can increase your emotional sensitivity.
3) Exposure to too much sunlight, heat, or humidity – While winter SAD is linked to a lack of sunlight, it is thought that summer SAD is due to the reverse-possibly too much sunlight. Too much sunlight also lead to changes in melatonin production. If you can’t sleep because of issues like stress, depression or anxiety: Melatonin may not work in those cases because the problem doesn’t lie with the body’s ability to make its own melatonin.
4) How to overcome SAD
Get enough sleep
– use an eye mask or blackout curtains
– keep a regular sleep schedule
– avoid staying up too late
Stay cool stay indoors
– some people really don’t cope well with high humidity, high temperatures and bright sunlight
– researchers have seen people’s moods improve if they incorporate cool showers to lower their body temperature
– do keep exercising but indoors. Exercise can help elevate your spirits
If you seem to struggle with summer depression year after year, ask yourself if there’s a reason. Do you associate summer with a difficult time in the past? Maybe it’s time to reach out to a psychotherapist to explore this possibility. A good psychotherapist is there to listen to you and help you explore your thoughts, experiences, and emotions.