Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Sunshine? You Bet!
By Katelyn Millinor, LPC | Behavioral Health Quality Manager
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that happens or changes with the season, with symptoms lasting 4 to 5 months every year. And while many people associate SAD with dark, cold, winter months, people living in sunny Central Arizona can and do suffer from SAD just like everyone else, but ours usually happens when temperatures heat up.
Get ready! Things are about to heat up—but probably not your mood.
Desert dwellers, like residents in the Valley of the Sun, tend to thrive in the winter months engaging in time outdoors. However, when summer months come, the extreme heat and sun can take a toll on our bodies and our mood. Millions of Americans suffer from SAD but may not recognize the have the condition.
Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms
Symptoms may differ based on season and for summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, symptoms may include:
- trouble sleeping
- poor appetite
To read more about symptoms, visit the National Institutes of Mental Health on Seasonal Affective Disorder. Additionally, if you already have depression or anxiety, this seasonal change could worsen your symptoms.
Since the timing of SAD is predictable with the seasons, you may be able to get ahead of by doing preventative care to help with symptoms. Ways to reduce or help symptoms can include talking with your primary care provider, a counselor, a nutritionist, or a psychiatric provider. One of the best things you and your counselor or other provider can help you with is developing coping skills and understanding the signs and symptoms that may be helpful to jump start your seasonal self-care routine.
For most people, staying cool, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and socialization can reduce symptoms.
Talk to your NOAH healthcare provider if you begin to experience SAD or have questions about this or other health, wellness, or mental health issues you may be facing.