While we thought it was reserved for the fall or the beginning of winter, seasonal depression could also strike you in the middle of summer, for different reasons. Psychiatrists have looked into the matter.
The sunburn can also be accompanied by a slack! Summer, bright and hot in our hemisphere, would be likely to trigger symptoms of seasonal depression, just like winter, according to several studies on the subject.
What is seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, is a mood disorder in which depression occurs at the same time each year. Generally, it is more frequent during the fall or at the beginning of winter, when the lack of light is felt. But it would seem that consultations for depression are experiencing a peak in the summer.
A survey published in an article by JAMA Psychiatry found that ED visits were generally 8% higher on hot days compared to cooler summer days and that there was an association between high ambient temperature and ED visits for worries mental health (stress, anxiety, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, etc.).
A climate too hot to feel good?
A 2023 study also found that sunlight and the biological clock (or circadian rhythm) can be disrupted during seasonal changes, which interferes with our brain chemistry, such as serotonin production linked to symptoms of the Depression.
Light is therefore essential, and is not lacking in summer. But other factors also come into play: the mental health organization People USA, noted that too much sun, excessive heat and humidity and personal opinions about body image can contribute to depression.
“Obviously extreme heat can also make agitation worse; however, there are too many human factors that need to be studied to be able to demonstrate that extreme heat is the main contributor to seasonal affective disorder”its CEO told Healthline magazine.
Climate change could also be an important risk factor for the onset of various mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder… A change that we realize more… in summer .
Different symptoms of winter depression
Whatever the season, seasonal depression brings its share of irritability, sadness, mood swings, difficulty concentrating or anxiety. However, depression in the summer is somewhat different.
With winter depression, people experience increased appetite, craving for carbohydrates, weight gain, and hypersomnia. With summer depression, people are more likely to suffer from loss of appetite and insomnia, but also from aggression.
How to get out of the summer depression?
According to the professionals interviewed by the magazine, combating summer seasonal depression is above all based on healthy measures to adopt for yourself and your mental health:
- Accept your situation and try to identify what makes you sad;
- Limit exposure to natural daylight when it’s too hot, and stay cool with air conditioning, especially at night;
- Maintain calm activities;
- Maintain an appropriate sleep pattern and do not abuse naps that disrupt the night;
- Maintain physical activity;
- Eat healthy ;
- Try holistic approaches (aromatherapy, meditation…);
- Speak with a mental health professional if you feel the need.