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Are you SAD this summer?

Seasonal Affective Disorders hit the psychologically-vulnerable. Low energy, confidence and motivation levels are characteristics of Summer Depression.

Summer can be disconcerting to health. Experts believe that the psychologically-vulnerable are at great risk. Death rate among patients suffering from schizophrenia, dementia and other such mental disorders is higher in summer.

Vishal Indla, head of the department of psychiatry, Vijayawada Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (VIMHANS), says it is because the patients fail to make adjustments required to cope with the rise in heat.

He adds that summer heat triggers what is known in technical parlance as Summer Blues or Summer Depression. This is the counter-part of the Winter Blues or Winter Depression suffered by the psychologically-vulnerable in the temperate countries.

Low energy, confidence and motivation levels are characteristics of Summer Depression. The patient also has difficulty in sleeping besides loss of appetite and weight. The summer and winter depressions are put broadly in the category of Seasonal Affective Disorders, having a very apt acronym SAD. Heat also aggravates insomnia and the aggravated insomnia in turn causes depression, says Dr. Vishal pointing to the connecting thread.

While children and adolescents are more prone to SAD, mothers who are under greater stress and exhaustion in vacations because of higher activity levels and changes in the regular routine are also known to fall prey to Summer Depression, says Dr. Vishal.

In summer, an increasing number of people rely on alcoholic drinks like beer for what they believe as “chilling out” or “cheering up”. “But they have exactly the opposite effect. The alcohol dehydrates the body and depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS). In other words, the brain, says Dr Vishal. This is also a factor that causes Summer Depression among some people, he says.

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