While Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) mostly affects people when the days get shorter and colder, about 10% of people with SAD get it during the summer.
According to the Mental Health Association NSW, SAD is a subtype of depression following the seasons of the year and symptoms can include mood fluctuations, insomnia, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, withdrawal from social interaction, and feelings of hopelessness.
The exact cause behind SAD is currently unknown but it’s thought to be connected to variations in light exposure affecting the biological clock. Where winter SAD can be attributable to a decrease in light exposure, reverse SAD could be due to an over-exposure of light. Furthermore, people may also be affected by confidence issues with their body image, which is exacerbated during spring and summer as we head outdoors more often.
There is also a social expectation that we should enjoy the warmer days.
If you’re feeling low this summer and think you’re getting depressed, get help. See your healthcare practitioner or talk to a therapist. While the symptoms may pass when the weather starts to cool, a therapist can help today.
Many studies have also found that regular physical activity can help keep depression at bay. So even if it’s getting too hot for your normal activities, find other ways to stay active and head off summer depression. Start earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when it’s not so hot.
You could also try taking more afternoon naps. Vacations, summer barbecues, the short nights – they can all encourage you to stay up later than usual. But not getting enough sleep is a common trigger for depression. So make a concerted effort to get to bed on time.