An Overview of Summer Depression

summer depression

“ Up to 30% of people with seasonal depression occurs during summertime”

-According to Samar McCutcheon, MD.

Summer Depression

Summers usually bring happiness and warmth to most people. However, this isn’t always the case. The arrival of summer makes some individuals ill. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is the name for this condition. Major depressive disorder (MDD) with seasonal patterns is the name given to it most recently.

Wintery days are when seasonal depression typically manifests. However, there is another, less prevalent sort of seasonal depression that manifests on sunny spring and summer days and is just as severe, according to specialists.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with summer-pattern seasonal affective disorder (SAD), often known as “reverse SAD,” typically experience typical depressive symptoms for four to five months each year during the warmer months (NIMH).

Summer Depression Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of summer depression frequently differ from those of SAD in the fall and winter. The majority of summer depression sufferers experience symptoms that start in late spring or early summer and end in the fall. Among the more widespread symptoms are:

  • Weight loss, 
  • Irritability,
  • agitation, 
  • anxiety
  • restlessness, 
  • poor sleep and/or less sleep (insomnia),
  • and a decrease in appetite.

Diagnosing Summer Depression

A physician or mental health specialist may identify and treat you for summer-pattern SAD if you:

  • Exhibit symptoms of major depression
  • Have experienced depressive episodes that happen in the summer months for at least two years in a row
  • During the summer, people are more likely than at any other time of the year to experience depressive episodes.

Causes of Summer Depression

The human urge to know, “what” causes SAD in the summertime? Here are a few reasons for summer reason:

OPPRESSIVE HEAT: Many folks enjoy the warmth and sunshine. They like baking all day long on the beach. But for those who don’t, the summer heat may be downright miserable or even oppressive. One might decide to start hiding out in your air-conditioned bedroom on the weekends and binge-watching Pay-Per-View till your eyes hurt. Because of the humidity, one might start skipping their normal before-dinner strolls. It can be too oppressive to cook, so you turn to unhealthy takeout. Summer depression may be brought on by any of these factors.

SUNLIGHT TRIGGERS: It is thought that cases that arise in the summer may be caused by too much sun because sunlight is thought to be the key to MDD with seasonal rhythm. Melatonin synthesis is suppressed by excessive sunshine. Your sleep-wake cycle is controlled by the hormone melatonin. Its production can even be stopped by simply turning on a light in the middle of the night to use the restroom. The melatonin factory in your body works fewer hours throughout longer days. The summer heat has been reported to make people with MDD with seasonal pattern agitated and irritated, in addition to interrupting their circadian cycle from the endless, bright light.

DISTURBED SCHEDULES: If one has ever experienced depression, one is presumably aware of how important a dependable routine can be for warding off symptoms. However, Cook, the head of the UCLA Depression Research Program notes that disruptions to regularity might be stressful throughout the summer. If one has kids in elementary school, one now has to worry about keeping them entertained 24 hours a day. If one child is at college, one might come home to see them after a nine-month absence—along with all the boxes of belongings they brought with them. Vacations might interfere with an individual’s routines for working, sleeping, and eating, all of which can worsen summer depression.

GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS: An early study found that persons who live in hotter regions experience higher summer MDD-SP than people who live in regions with cooler temperatures. Summer SAD is more prevalent than winter SAD in countries near the equator like India, according to Cook, director of the UCLA Depression Research Program. What makes seasonal changes depressing? Although experts are unsure, longer days, rising temperatures, and increased humidity could all be factors. Loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, weight loss, and anxiety are among the specific symptoms of summer depression.

Body image problems: Many people experience extreme body anxiety as the temperature rises and the layers of clothing shed, according to Cook. It can be uncomfortable, not to mention hot, to feel uncomfortable while wearing shorts or a bathing suit. Some people start avoiding social situations out of embarrassment since so many summertime parties take place at beaches and pools.

Summer Depression Treatment and Coping:

GETTING HELP: It’s straightforward. No matter the season, seek treatment if you suspect you could be becoming depressed. Speak with a therapist, such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Alternately, consult a psychiatrist or general practitioner who can determine whether antidepressant medication is necessary. Never ignore depression’s warning symptoms. Don’t wait them out in the hopes that they will go away. According to Cook, it’s possible for a briefcase of summer depression to develop into a more protracted case of severe depression.

And even if your depression does get better in September, that doesn’t mean you can disregard it now in June. Three potentially avoidable miserable months are at issue.

AVOIDING SUNLIGHT: In contrast to winter MDD with a seasonal pattern, the proposed process of summer-onset MDD with a seasonal pattern is tied to sunlight. This would suggest that the ideal setting might also differ. People with summer-onset MDD and a seasonal pattern may be encouraged to spend more time in darkened spaces rather than receiving light therapy. Even yet, choosing the right time of day to expose yourself to light may be crucial for a complete recovery.

Medications: Antidepressants are a class of medications frequently used to treat depression. They act by raising levels of neurotransmitters, a class of brain chemicals largely involved in controlling mood (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are among the antidepressants that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has licensed for treating depression (MAOIs). Bupropion and mirtazapine, among others, are also approved. Bupropion has a particular FDA indication for treating SAD.

Develop your body-positive self-talk: According to Shepard, body image problems tend to get worse in the summer, particularly because lighter apparel and swimming suits are considerably more prevalent then. Advise from Shepard? Remind yourself that everyone is probably more interested in themselves than you are when you are out in public because you are not the center of attention. “You might be concerned with how you appear in your bikini at the pool, but the person next to you isn’t,” she says.They are worried about their appearance. “Remember that you are not standing out and that other people are not as concerned about such stuff as you believe they are.”

Don’t be hard on yourself: You feel so out of place, which is one challenging aspect of summer depression. Everyone else appears to be enjoying themselves immensely. You’re not. What’s wrong with me, you keep asking yourself.

Don’t think that way, please. According to Cook, “So much of our suffering stems from the gap between where we are and where we believe we should be.” Therefore, quit stressing about how you feel in comparison to others. Stop presuming that simply because the calendar says it’s June, you should be joyful. Instead, focus on the reasons behind your summer depression and how to overcome them.

Create Time for Self-Care in Your Schedule: An indulgence is not self-care. You may maintain your health and handle your everyday tasks more simply and successfully by making time for relaxation, socializing, and other feel-good requirements. Lim argues that practicing self-care might entail taking care of your physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, or mental health in ways like:

  • Eating Healthy.
  • Practicing positive mirror talk.
  • Finishing a book you’ve been always meaning to read.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal.
  • Playing with your pet.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Exercising.
  • Spending quality time with a family member or a close friend. 
  • Going for a spa or body massage
  • Gifting self a therapy session
  • Soaking your feet in warm water
  • Applying a moisturizer before going to sleep
  • Hugging yourself by wrapping your arms around your shoulders.

Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how

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