Learning to Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression connected to the changes in season and the amount of light that is present each day. It can deplete one’s energy and can cause one to experience strange, unexplained changes in mood. Many people that experience this disorder will feel its effects during the fall and winter months when the days are shorter, and there is less sunlight. It can be especially difficult for those who live in states with harsh winters. However, many people may not realize that it is possible to experience SAD in the spring and summer as well. It is often referred to as “summer depression.“ Luckily, there are things that can be done to help cope.
Recognizing the Signs of Seasonal Depression
There are some common symptoms of SAD linked to spring and summer. They include:
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- No longer finding enjoyment from the hobbies, you once loved
- Feeling the need to withdraw from friends and family
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Changes in appetite
- Trouble focusing
- Lapses in memory
- Unusual anger or agitation
- Thoughts about suicide
Understanding Why This Occurs
There are a lot of factors that can play into why someone will experience this disorder during the spring or summer months. Some common causes include:
#1.) Changes in Daylight and Temperature: Not everyone enjoys the higher temperatures that come with the spring and summer months. In fact, some people may find that the heat makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep and get good quality rest throughout the night. They may find themselves tossing and turning throughout the night while feeling overheated. Additionally, the sun stays out for much longer during the spring and summer months. This can make it difficult to sleep, especially for those who need to go to bed early, so they wake up early for work or school. Also, because the sun helps provide energy, some people may find it harder to get their brains to relax and prepare for sleep.
#2.) Changes in Brain Chemicals: When someone spends time out in the sunlight, a brain chemical called serotonin is activated. Serotonin helps regulate many essential brain functions such as one’s mood, emotions, and even digestion. While serotonin is an essential chemical, too much of it can lead to problems such as restlessness and anxiety.
#3.) Seasonal Allergies: It is common to experience allergies in the spring and summer months. While for some people, this is nothing more than a nuisance, for others, it can be quite debilitating. It can make it more difficult for them to keep up with work or school and impact the overall quality of their lives. It can even lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
There are some other factors that could also potentially play into this disorder, such as family history or geographical location. Additionally, women are typically more likely to experience this disorder than men.
Coping With Seasonal Depression in the Spring and Summer
#1. One of the most important things you should be doing to combat seasonal depression is to practice good sleep habits. If the daylight is keeping you up at night or causing you to wake up too early, consider investing in some black-out curtains or a sleeping mask. You’ll also want to ensure that you keep as firm a sleep schedule as possible. This involves going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
#2. Avoid going on your phone or watching television right before bed. This can not only lead to unnecessary stress, but the light from the screen can also make your brain more alert, so it will be harder to fall asleep. Instead, consider reading a chapter of a book or doing some journaling before bed.
#3.) Make sure that you are getting regular exercise every day. This can help tire you out so that you fall asleep quicker.
#4.) Ensure that you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals. Our diet has a significant impact on mental health, and if you’re not eating well, it may be triggering anxiety or depression.
#5.) Be sure to let your primary care physician know about what you are experiencing. They can help provide a diagnosis and offer treatment if necessary. They may recommend therapy which can be very beneficial to those struggling with this disorder. A therapist can help you work through your emotions and identify changes that you can make within your life to help alleviate the problem. They can also help you begin to think more positively about this time of the year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is very common and is often experienced in the fall and winter months when it is cold outside, and there is less daylight. However, it is possible to experience this disorder in the spring and summer months as well. Some common symptoms of this disorder include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, low energy, and unusual anger or agitation. There are several factors that play into why someone experiences this type of disorder. They include changes in daylight and temperature, changes in brain chemicals, and in some cases, seasonal allergies. You can learn how to cope with this disorder by practicing good sleep habits, staying away from technology before bed, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. You may also consider investing in therapy. At Achieve Concierge, we want to help you obtain peak mental health. Call (858) 221-0344 to learn more.
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