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Old Wed, Jul-24-19, 06:50
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Demi Demi is offline
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Default Summer SAD: why the sun could be getting you down

Quote:
24 July, 2019

Summer SAD: why the sun could be getting you down

Sunny beer gardens, barbecues and long, light evenings. What's not to love about summertime? Well, quite a lot as it happens, if you happen to suffer from Summer SAD, or reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, a seasonal cousin to the better-known winter variant where people experience a low mood when the temperature drops and the dark nights draw in.

And with the summer heating up – temperatures broke records across Europe this week, following the hottest June on record – Summer SADness could become an increasing issue, according to mental health experts.

“Lots of people get in touch looking for support around experiencing SAD, and some of them do experience symptoms in the summer," says Rachel Boyd from the mental health charity MIND.

Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, who first described SAD in a journal article in 1984, says people can even find summer depression hits them harder. “If it’s too hot, people can suffer from summer depression. It’s like in Shakespeare’s sonnet, ‘Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d’. You can suffer from both sides of the equation,” he says.

Experts at America’s National Institute of Mental Health are still studying the summertime blues, which is thought to affect around 10 per cent of SAD sufferers.

Precisely what causes summer SAD is still unclear, but extreme heat and short, sweaty nights are thought to be factors. Boyd points to research around SAD in winter, that suggests a link between lower light levels and low mood, which knocks the body clock off kilter and affects levels of hormones that control things like mood and sleepiness.

“We know less about the physical causes for SAD in summer,” she adds. “But longer days could also disrupt our body clocks, and there can also be social factors or difficult experiences we associate with a particular season that make summer difficult for some people. The added pressure to be outside ‘making the most of the daylight’ can be really difficult when someone is experiencing a period of poor mental health.”

While those affected by winter SAD can invest in a light box or light alarm clock, that mimics natural outdoor light, Dr Rosenthal, who wrote Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder, said a cure for those struggling in the summer remains elusive. “Summer depression is harder to fix [than winter SAD]. Some people need darkness; some are too hot, so they so need to be cooled down.”

Sufferers often complain of feeling agitated and restless as well as experiencing insomnia, loss of appetite and weight loss. They typically feel uncomfortably warm at night. As with winter SAD, sufferers of the summertime version can become clinically depressed. Another issue is that people who might be affected by reverse SAD can be misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety.

David Wilson, a therapist who is part of welldoing.org and specialises in high sensitivity, says reverse SAD sufferers find seasonal transitions particularly tough: “When the clocks change in March/April and it starts to get lighter, it’s harder for them. Eventually the body accepts the transition and they adjust to the new season,” he says, adding that some studies have suggested the body’s ability to produce melatonin may also be a contributing factor.

As with anyone who finds extreme summer heat difficult, SAD sufferers should use blackout curtains or blinds and sleep with their windows open at night. Wilson says social contact can also help people feel better. “Interacting with others is key to our mental health and overall wellbeing,” he adds.

Rosenthal also advises getting a thyroid check, as there is some evidence that people with summer SAD have low thyroid function.



https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-...-sad-tell-have/
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