Disclaimer:- This is not a diagnosis. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a mental health issue that is not often discussed when talking about the huge spectrum of mental illnesses. But within SAD we have two specific kinds, winter SAD and summer Sad. While the winter SAD is often talked about and is a well-known disorder, the summer sibling of the disorder is even rarer and more complicated.
Why is Summer SAD more concerning than winter SAD?
- The first factor of this kind of seasonal depression is that it is under-diagnosed.
The reason behind that is that people or research groups have not devoted enough time to study this. It came under the radar of doctors in 1990s and early 2000 but they have not been updated.
The director of clinical training at the University of Vermont, Kelly Rohan said. “Whereas the winter SAD area has really taken off in research, there are not many people carrying the torch out there, studying the summer variant of this.” He is also a psychologist who has been studying seasonal affective disorder since 1993.
- The second is the complexity of the symptoms.
For winter SAD, the patient feels, increase in appetite, increase in sleep and sluggishness. All combined factor lead to increase in weight. Whereas, summer SAD is a contrast to it. There is a decrease in appetite, insomnia and resultant weight loss. They are also more suicidal than people who are prone to winter seasonal depression.
- Solution to SAD.
While winter SAD is easily treatable, it is not too easy to treat the summertime sadness. Palliative light therapy is exposure to a lamp with a certain frequency that stimulates natural light. If that is done for 30 minutes, it can keep winter blues away. But for summer SAD there are not many solutions to deal with it, maybe because of the elusiveness attached to it.
Norman Rosenthal who first identified SAD said “A condition will become better known if there’s something clear that you can do about it. That’s the case with winter SAD. With the summer version, I can give you some recommendations, but they are not the same kind if easy, widely effective, and widely implementable thing as light therapy.”
- What instigates the depression?
SAD is instigated by environmental factors like high temperatures and humidity. On the other hand winter, SAD is instigated by seasonal darkness. Because of this difference winter SAD easier to treat (using light therapy). Whereas, it’s difficult to control temperature and humidity throughout an entire season, especially when there is an additional societal pressure to enjoy outdoors, which induces fear of missing out if not followed.
Public Awareness about the disease.
Talking about the situation, especially in America, people genuinely love summers. In places that winters are pretty drastic, cold and dark, people eagerly wait for the summer to come around. While it is easy for people to understand why some feel depressed during winter, considering the gloom and inactivity, it is not the same for understanding summer depression. People may be educated by awareness but it is definitely not something people will immediately relate or sympathize with, which makes it worse. The non-acceptance can even trigger the depression.
Ways to deal with the summer depression?
The patients who suffer from summer depression take up meditation and talk therapy so as to manage the issue.
Another effective measure is seeking Air Conditioner all the time, avoid going out in sun and bathing pretty frequently. But that too is definitely not a 100% solution because the moment one needs to step out the tricks will stop working out.