Ok, so its summer time now. The days are longer, the sun is shining and you’re walking around with a broad grin on your face. No? There could be a reason for your less than jovial feelings and it’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Usually experienced in winter but can also be found in summertime the symptoms of the disorder include feelings of depression, too much sleep and lack of energy. Initially theorised by Norman. E Rosenthal this condition is found to affect 6% of the population of the U.S.
Why do We Get it in Summer?
A study performed by Rosenthal found that it is often linked with other disorders such as bipolar and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and showed that when some of the participants were exposed to a large amount of artificial light then it showed some anti depressive properties.
This would seem to suggest that in the summer time you wouldn’t get it because there is more light and so it wouldn’t be a problem. Well this is partly true, the cases of SAD are much less in the summer but still 10% of sufferers who get it in winter get it in summer as well. It has also been found that in countries near to the equator that it has almost the same effect as winter SAD. This could possibly be because of the prospect of less water and harder times, increased heat and humidity and the longer days. Some of the symptoms of summertime SAD are different from those of the winter and they include trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.
There are some other factors about summer that could contribute to depression at this time making the situation worse. For example you are often expected to go out because it’s a nice day. In some people this can cause an additional stress because going out often costs more money and you have to prepare for the trip.
Also that holiday that you have been looking forward to (or have you?!) can cause extra issues such as poor self body image. A problem mostly found in women they will see themselves as being ‘to fat’ to wear a bikini but at the same time feel pressured to do so because they are in a warm country. And again that holiday costs money adding yet another expensive bill onto the already costly season.
If you have children as well you will now be expected to keep them occupied for 6 weeks until the new term comes around. This means days out, thinking up activities for them and if you have a full-time job paying for additional child care.
What to do about it
If you feel like you are getting depressed at any time of the year then seek some help. I can’t stress the importance of speaking to someone else about it enough. The best person to go and see would be your local GP or perhaps a psychiatrist. There are so many treatments out there for depression that you should definitely take advantage of them.
Also don’t get it into your head that you should be feeling happier because its summer. So much of your time can be taken up with thinking about how you should be feeling that you forget to simply be yourself. If you aren’t happy then that’s what you’re feeling, you shouldn’t try to live up to the expectations that you think others have of you.
Finally if you have come down with severe SAD then you should treat it as you would other types of depression. The most widely accepted treatments for this are cognitive behavioural therapy or anti depressant medication. Both of these methods are proven to be effective and will help you to recover from your condition.
Do you suffer from SAD or have a friend that you think does? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section.