SAD in the summer? Too much sun can give you the blues

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know what Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD is. For those that don’t, it’s when the cold, dark winter days trigger depression.

But with summer at it’s peak, and across the country it’s been unbearable heat, another type of depression is getting attention, Summer SAD.

Summer SAD is linked to a sensitivity to heat and light. An estimated 1.5 million Americans may suffer from summertime SAD.

With summer SAD, all of the effects are the opposite to the Winter Blues. People affected in the summer tend to lose weight, eat less and sleep less. Like those in the winter, people with summer SAD tend to be extremely irritable during the summertime.

People with SAD in the wintertime seem to be located farther away from the equator. Some studies have found that people living near the equator tend to have more issues with summer SAD.

WebMD cites that about 10 percent of people with SAD in the wintertime also get it in reverse in the summertime.

Summer SAD is nothing new. It was first recognized in 1986 when mental health professionals suspected that heat and humidity contributed to depression.

Ideas for relieving summer SAD symptoms: Experts recommend staying cool with cold showers, air conditioning, swimming in cold lakes, or heading north to cooler climes if you can. Since people tend to drink more alcohol in the summer, be mindful of your consumption, since alcohol is a depressant.

The long summer days may also be misaligning your circadian rhythms, experts say, so another treatment plan could involve a combination of getting early morning light therapy (30 to 60 minutes daily), which shifts the body clock forward, and a low-dose of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.

But talk to your physician if you’re strugging with a low mood this summer.