Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is depression that occurs during a specific season. Most assume that SAD only occurs in the fall or winter, but research shows that it can appear in the summer as well. While about 4-6% of Americans have SAD, it is estimated that at least 10% of them experience symptoms of the disorder during the summer.1
Those with SAD typically experience major depression symptoms, but there are some symptoms that are specific to those who undergo SAD in the summertime2:
• Major depressive episodes
• Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
• Weight loss
• Poor appetite
• Agitation or anxiety
Since most research on SAD has focused on those who experience symptoms in the winter, less is known about why people experience it during the summer. Scientists do have some theories on why it may occur3:
• Disruption of circadian rhythm and production of melatonin
• Heat and humidity
• Financial problems relating to vacations
• Poor body image
In addition, summer-onset SAD can feel even more isolating than winter-onset SAD. While wintertime sufferers can find solace in people generally choosing to stay home and escape the cold weather, summertime sufferers feel like they are missing out on much more since people are going on vacations, to large events, or even just for a hike or swim.4
Though there is no specialized treatment for summertime SAD, there are some steps that those struggling can take. Paying close attention to your sleep schedule and adjusting it, using darkening shades on windows and low-lighting indoors, keeping the air conditioning at a level that provides comfort, and exercising are all things that could help lessen symptoms.
Because SAD suffers may also have a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, often medication alone is not enough. Click here to learn more about how TMS Therapy, an FDA-cleared, safe, effective and non-drug treatment is helping people with depression.