Seasonal depression also strikes in the summer

Contrary to popular belief, seasonal affective disorder does not just occur in the winter, reports National Geographic.

Winter SAD is caused by decreased exposure to sunlight, which can disrupt the body's internal clock and lower serotonin levels. People who develop the disorder in the winter often feel sluggish, sleep more and have a bigger appetite. 

Summer SAD is the condition's "underdiagnosed, rarer and harder-to-treat sibling," National Geographic wrote. People who have the disorder in the summer may feel more agitated, lose their appetite or experience insomnia. They are also more likely to have suicidal thoughts than people with the disorder in the winter. 

Physicians have known about the summer disorder for nearly four decades, but little research exists on the condition. The disorder is treated with palliative light therapy in the winter, but there is no well-defined treatment for it during summer, since it's caused by a multitude of changing environmental factors such as high temperature, humidity and pollen counts. 

"With the summer version, I can give you some recommendations, but they’re not the same kind of easy, widely effective and widely implementable thing as light therapy," Norman Rosenthal, MD, the psychologist who first identified seasonal affective disorder in 1984, told National Geographic

Dr. Rosenthal and other psychologists predict that climate change will increase rates of summer SAD, making it increasingly important to develop better treatments for the condition. 

To view the full article, click here.

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