Summer depression is a major depressive disorder that occurs during warmer months. While winter seasonal depression is common, research shows that one in ten people suffer from summer depression.
Are There Any Groups That May Be More Prone to It?
People who live far from the equator are more prone to summer depression.
Is Spring Depression and Summer depression the Same Thing?
In my opinion, summer depression and winter depression are the same things. We, as therapists, call depressive symptoms that occur during spring and summer “spring depression.”
Signs And Symptoms of Summer Depression
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sleep problems
When Do They Show Up?
Late spring or early summer
When Do They Improve?
Fall and winter
Causes Of Summer Depression
In all honesty, no one knows the exact causes of summer depression. Researchers believe the condition stems from changes in your biological clock (circadian system). They claim that too much exposure to sunlight disrupts your biological clock, causing depressive symptoms like insomnia. Changes in the circadian system are more common among people living far from the equator.
Researchers also believe summer times leave many people with feelings of insecurity due to their body image. Because summertime means wearing less, people may suffer depression from thinking they have a poor body shape, size, or appearance.
According to research, the common risk factor for summer depression is genetics. If your parents or close family had summer depression, there is a good chance you will experience this disorder. Certain medical conditions also make you susceptible to summer depression. These include stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
What Is the Actual Diagnosis for This Condition, and How Might You Go About Getting Diagnosed?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, you must meet the criteria for summer SAD depression to receive the diagnosis. These include;
- You must have been experiencing the depressive symptoms for at least two years.
- The symptoms of summer depression must be more frequent than those of normal depression
To find out if you meet the criteria, your healthcare provider will ask you about your depressive symptoms, when they started showing, and your medical history.
Potential Treatments for Summer Depression
Medications including antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, or MAOIs) can help with summer depression. Antidepressants increase the production and release of chemicals (dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin). Higher levels of these chemicals in the body promote a positive mood.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common form of psychotherapy. CBT removes the negative thoughts and feelings causing your summer depression. Other forms of psychotherapy include family therapy, the existential approach, and dialectical behavior therapy.
Other Coping Strategies
Engaging in regular physical activity increases the production of feel-good chemicals. This can improve your mood. Try aerobic and strength exercises for at least 30 minutes a day.
Try Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation refers to practicing meditation and mindfulness at the same time. Itrestores your calm and inner peace.