While depression is more likely to occur in the fall and winter, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can also affect people during the spring and summer. “Summer depression” is a form of SAD that flares up during the summer months. It typically returns every year and eases up at specific times.
Unlike winter depression that typically includes low energy, daytime tiredness, decreased activity and sadness, summer depression has the opposite symptoms. A person with summer depression may experience restlessness, anxiety, poor sleeping, decreased appetite and irritability.
Let’s learn more about what causes summer depression, the symptoms to be aware of and how anxiety treatment in Princeton NJ can help.
Causes of Summer Depression
There are several theories for why some people experience summer sadness. However, there’s not much research, and the research we do have focuses mostly on the fall and winter. So while these issues are likely to contribute to summer depression, they are simply theories at this point.
Too much sunlight
Some people are sensitive to sunlight. Sunlight causes changes in the body’s circadian rhythm, which prompts it to produce less melatonin. As a result, your sleep-wake pattern might be thrown off, making it difficult to sleep at night.
Body image issues
As the temperatures warm up, the layers of clothes drop off. People who struggle from eating disorders or body image issues may feel awkward or embarrassed to wear shorts, tank tops or bathing suits. Since many summer events revolve around beaches and pools, people may avoid them out of fear.
There’s a growing body of research that suggests that high temperatures can negatively affect our mental health. Some of the issues that extreme heat can cause are increased irritability, symptoms of depression, increased aggression and higher incidents of domestic violence.
While it’s nice to have some extra free time in the summer, the lack of structure can cause anxiety and depression. For example, if the kids are typically in school all day, now you have to find ways to keep them busy.
Signs of Summer Depression
Do you think that you could be suffering from summer depression? Here are some signs that something might be going on:
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Agitation or anxiety
- Increased irritability
How to Cope with Summer Depression
As with other mental health disorders, there are steps you can take to lessen the severity of your symptoms. The two best ways to do this are with professional therapy and medication.
CTRLCare Behavioral Health treats seasonal affective disorder using medication and cognitive behavioral therapy in New Jersey. Not only can these treatments help you fight summer depression, but also they can improve other areas of your life that you may be struggling with.
Contact our admissions team to learn more – it’s not too late to have a happy, healthy summer!