Reverse SAD “or summer SAD” is a less known version of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The dark days are behind us as we move into spring/summer with the arrival of long pleasant evenings. For most, this is enough to lift our moods but for those with reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is not the case. For those, the longer days create more sadness.
Season Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder that relates to the changes in seasons. This condition is mostly associated with winter which makes sense, as the days are grey and shortened. These dark and damp days provide the perfect atmosphere for low moods and depression to manifest themselves in our moods.
Mental health experts say that the opposite can occur; SAD isn’t just a winter illness. It is thought that 10 % of people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder in spring and summer.
The cause isn’t formally understood, but there are factors believed by professionals that bring on the onset of depression during the spring/summer months.
It has long been speculated that the onset of symptoms directly results from longer days, humidity, and an increase in temperatures. In comparison to winter, dark, dank and short days, our bodies produce lower levels of serotonin which can result in symptoms of depression. Switch this to when things start warming up and our levels of melatonin (which play a role in sleep and mood) can be thrown out of balance.
Longer days and shorter nights also bring a different mood. Many people feel in higher spirits due to the warmer temperatures and sun exposure. If you have experienced depression you may be more vulnerable to seasonal bouts of low mood for what appears to be little or no reason. If you feel a sense of imbalance and a different level of happiness to others, you may have feelings of anxiety and guilt for not partaking in their happiness. This could be a precipitate of summer SAD.
It has been suggested that allergies can play a large role in the impact of a person’s mood. Frustrations, feeling under the weather and being tired are typical symptoms that contribute to low moods. Typically, hayfever with the increased levels of pollen in the warmer months could be what triggers summer SAD.
Symptoms tend to be mild during early spring but are known to increase as the season progress. Whilst winter SAD focuses on low energy and light, summer SAD symptoms tend to centre on agitation and irritability.
Typically, people with summer SAD have trouble sleeping, poor appetite, anxiety, and agitation. Currently, there is no treatment for summer SAD, but that doesn’t mean we cannot help ourselves and others.
Sleep in a darkened room
As insomnia related to lighter nights is a key symptom, block out as much sunlight as possible when you go to sleep.
Exercise is a natural way to relieve stress and anxiety. Although you may not feel able to exercise, a short walk outside can decree symptoms and improve overall mood.