The sun’s out, everyone seems happy, ready with their beach essentials. From hanging out with pals to flaunting the latest summer trends, the season buzzes with activity and chatter. But guess what – not everyone feels the same way.
Less than 1% of the people on the globe and 5% of American adults experience depression starting from when the first signs of the sun’s rays pointing toward the heated season peak out. These people are not just agitated and merely angry because the air conditioner doesn’t cool them up but because they have a serious condition known as summer seasonal affective disorder or summer SAD.
What are the symptoms of summer SAD?
You might have already heard about SAD which occurs in winter for many folks. That type of depression happens because people tend to get less light which messes up with their circadian rhythms. Also known as winter blues, the depression that people experience in the colder season makes them overeat, oversleep, and feel dull.
Summertime SAD comes with opposite symptoms. Instead of feeling down, people tend to feel agitated. They eat less and sleep less with feelings of restlessness clouding their brain. This depression can be pretty dangerous and even has depression associated to it.
This is because summer SAD makes people feel active along with depressed which ups suicide risk. Due to the disorder being rare and only have been pointed out about 35 years back, not much research has been done in this area.
Therefore, the exact cause behind why summer SAD occurs has not been found. But researchers think that it has something to do with extended hours of light due to which melatonin production is disrupted. At the end of the day, both depressions have to do with hormonal changes.
Who is at risk of summer SAD?
Some people are more at risk of developing summer SAD than others. It has been noted that people in countries nearer to the equator are more at risk. Women are more at risk than men but men who do get SAD during summer have more severe symptoms.
One’s heredity also plays a role in determining whether or not he has summer SAD. If someone has a relative with this mood disorder, he is likely to develop it. Moreover, people with bipolar disorder and clinical depression also are at more risk.
To check whether or not one has summertime SAD or if he is just normally agitated, researchers track symptoms of the past two years.
What’s the cure for summertime SAD?
Unfortunately, due to lack of research there’s no therapy for summer SAD like there is light therapy for people experiencing winter blues. Doctors suggest medication which is the route most people dealing with the ailment take. However, certain other tricks can also be helpful such as wearing sunshades, staying indoors, and chilling in the air conditioner.
Summer SAD is a thing. Though rare, this form of depression can be dangerous. This is why getting a diagnosis and treatment are essential.