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Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder - Amulya Tirumala

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition often associated with wintertime due to shorter days and colder temperatures, but seasonal depression can also occur during the summer. This lesser known form of SAD can be triggered by countless factors and many harmful symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, agitation, weight loss, and decreased appetite can occur.

Although summer SAD is less common than winter SAD, mental health professionals do see cases of summer-onset SAD. This disorder can be triggered by many factors, including drastic schedule changes, which impact mainly students and teachers. The summer often causes a loss of structure, leading individuals to feel confused and disoriented. Changes in daylight patterns can also trigger SAD because longer daylight hours disrupt sleep schedules, affecting one's mood and energy levels. Social events and an increase in get-togethers can lead to social exhaustion, overcommitment, and increased stress, while a decrease in social gatherings can lead to loneliness, poor self-esteem, and a feeling of less social support. Extreme heat can cause fatigue and exhaustion, negatively impacting mood. SAD also has a higher chance of affecting women, young adults, and those with existing mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.

There are some ways to improve and manage your mood to be less impacted by the symptoms of SAD. First, maintain a consistent daily routine. By keeping a consistent sleep schedule and a plan for your day, anxiety can be replaced with stability. Along with this, keeping a journal detailing your emotions and feelings can help you identify negative and positive patterns in your mental health. Next, avoid extreme temperatures; by staying cool and protected from the sun, there is a significantly lower chance of irritability and fatigue taking over. Most importantly, seek professional help. If mood changes persist for two weeks or longer, seek help from a mental health professional, as they can provide personalized treatment, coping strategies, and an understanding environment.


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