SAD in the Spring? It’s Not as Rare as You Think.

We’ve set our clocks forward, the days are getting longer, the snow and ice at higher elevations is starting to melt, and the signs of Spring abound!  If you are struggling with feelings of isolation or sadness, you may suffer from a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Although most people think of SAD as a condition that strikes only during the winter months, when cold temperatures and short days can darken your mood, the arrival of Spring can also bring on symptoms of depression.  Approximately ten percent of those with SAD experience reverse onset, developing depression during the Spring or Summer months.  If you or a loved one exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, please seek professional help from a doctor or therapist.

  • Loss of appetite
  • New or heightened anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Spring depression can feel particularly hard to overcome because so many people experience Spring as a joyous season of rebirth and celebration, increasing the sense of isolation.  “Why do I feel so sad when everyone else is so happy?” you may ask.  As Spring progresses, it becomes harder to brush off feelings of sadness as just “winter blues,” exacerbating thoughts of hopelessness.  It may even seem like nature itself is taunting you.  In fact, more suicides occur in the Spring than at any other time of year.

Just as a lack of light and warmth in the winter can contribute to SAD, too much light and hot weather may play a role in the Spring-Summer version of the condition.  Seasonal changes can affect levels of certain mood-influencing hormones, and the time change can interrupt the brain’s normal circadian rhythm.  Since many factors contribute to depression, the precise cause of springtime SAD remains unclear.

For minor cases of Spring SAD, doctors recommend keeping cool by relying on air conditioning and taking cool showers, closing curtains and blinds to reduce exposure to bright light, engaging in light exercise to boost endorphins, eating a healthy diet, sticking to a regular sleep schedule, and taking part in social activities you would usually enjoy.  If you still feel depressed, or if your symptoms worsen, make an appointment for professional treatment.

South Denver Psychotherapy, LLC provides counseling services to help with all of your mental health problems.  Our therapists specialize in psychotherapy for women, men, couples, teens, and the GLBT community.  Let us give you the tools you need to live a better life.  Visit us or call us today at (303) 730-1144.

Additional Resources

http://today.uchc.edu/newsreleases/2006/jun06/summersad.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13546925

http://source.southuniversity.edu/spring-can-bring-showers-of-depression-35284.aspx