Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder

A well-known winter phenomenon, seasonal affective disorder strikes some people in summer. As depression and headache disorders tend to occur together, it’s important to watch out for symptoms. Particularly in summer, when it’s easy to mistake depression symptoms with the sapping properties of heat.

In winter, people with SAD tend to sleep more, have less energy,
gain weight and crave carbohydrate. Summer SAD sufferers usually sleep less, lose weight and have anxiety.

Because summer SAD doesn’t appear to be light-related, as it is in winter, the treatments that are effective for winter SAD don’t work for summer sufferers. Antidepressants and “lifestyle changes” are recommended instead. Examples include swimming in cold water every day, avoiding daylight and heat, and listening to a rain-sounds CD.

The New York Times has another informative article: Seasonal Depression Can Accompany Summer Sun. Mayo Clinic explains SAD’s symptoms, causes and treatments.

Photo by Arnaud Desbordes.


5 Responses to “Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder”

  1. Saskia Says:

    Please check out a very recent article in the LA Times (featuring me!) about Summer SAD. I just started a website for SAD focusing right now on Summer SAD, with a support group forum and group.,1,6223923.story?coll=la-headlines-health

    It seems like some people in the group are more prone to migranes and headaches–the sun and heat aggravate them–so I will recommend your website. Can I put a link up on my site to yours? Thanks, Saskia

    This article is what spurred the post. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    I’d love for you to include a link to my site!


  2. Saskia Says:

    Lol ok *now* I see you hyperlinked the title to the article. Thanks!

  3. Christina P Says:

    It’s one of the reasons I left L.A. And if we don’t stop having these 90 degree summers in the NW, I’ll have to go further afield. Reyjavik? Edinburgh?

    Air conditioning would make it much easier, but it’s not easy to find in the northwest.

    I’m avoiding Iceland because I’m afraid sulphur will be a migraine trigger for me. Maybe Finland…


  4. Elaine Says:

    You might want to do some research on using Dawn Simulators as a means of alleviating the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have both Winter and Summer SAD and using a Dawn Simulator has almost totally eliminated all of my symptoms, without the use of supplements. In the summer I use a blackout curtain with the Dawn Simulator to make the sun rise later for me, keeping my day length fairly constant throughout the year. And it all happens while I sleep


  5. Aimee Says:

    This is so interesting–thank you for posting it. I used to joke about being like this, and never imagined it was a real disorder. This summer I’ve begun having chronic headaches at the end of the day. What I find completely bizarre, though, is that they improve when I walk into a well-lit room, and return when I walk into a room without the lights on. So it gets WORSE in the dark! I have not been able to find any site that addresses this bizarre kind of headache, so if anyone has experienced anything similar I would love to hear about it!

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