If summer’s heat and sun bums you out, you’re not alone. How to tell if it is a case of the summertime blues—or something more serious
For some, summertime is anything but sweet.
What is supposed to be the most relaxed season of the year comes with triggers such as schedule stress, Instagram envy (is everyone else on vacation?) and a hatred of the heat.
Oftentimes, these feelings are little more than in-the-moment frustrations. But in some individuals, seasonal upset is actually summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, or diagnosable summer depression.
“Having seasonal depression in the summer is not as common as wintertime depression, but mental health professionals do see it,” Michelle Riba, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan and associate director of the U-M Depression Center, said last year.
“For people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, manic episodes often peak in spring and summertime,” she added.
If this sounds familiar, consider these signs and symptoms of summer depression. If you have concerns about these symptoms or any others, talk to your doctor: Depression is treatable, whether through talk therapy, medication or other means.
- Heat is agitating. Winter SAD makes people feel lethargic. But in the summer, seasonal depression can mean agitation and restlessness. Ample time in air conditioning can help.
- Your sleep cycle is off. Sleep changes, such as insomnia, are a common symptom of all types of depression. Long days of summer sun might exacerbate these problems for some. Blackout shades that shut sun out may make a difference.
- You’ve lost your appetite. Changes in appetite and weight loss in the summer might mean the heat is throwing you off.
- You feel isolated. If it seems like everyone else is out having fun, while you’re frustrated and no longer interested in things you used to love, it could be depression.
- Scheduling stresses you out. If vacation is more anxiety-producing than relaxing, or if your jam-packed social calendar makes you want to hide at home, something might be wrong.
Other depression symptoms (year-round) include:
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, or guilt or worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions.
From Michigan Health