Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder – What Is it?

Man with head in hands

Is there such a thing as summer blues? There is! It’s actually called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, if you’re having some summertime sadness, it could be seasonal depression. Read on to know more about this.


Seasonal Affective Disorder Explained

It’s hard to discuss Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder without talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder, which aptly has the acronym SAD.

What is it?

It’s also known as the winter blues. 

This happens when people who have healthy mental health throughout the year suddenly experience sadness during the cold season. 

Let’s elaborate

During winter, daylight is shorter than the rest of the year. 

The lack of sunlight can cause one’s darkening mood. 

Why?

The answer is one word: serotonin.

Serotonin is a chemical that is linked to positive mood. It is a neurotransmitter that tells the body to be happy. 

Here’s more

Serotonin regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. 

Do you notice?

When you have a great sleep, you have a better outlook for the day.

A good night’s sleep will keep you energetic when you wake up. 

Now

If your serotonin is low, that means your sleep-wake cycle may be disrupted. 

That may result in having difficulty sleeping, which could set the mood the entire day. 

Lady looking tired on bed

So, what is Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If SAD happens in winter, the Reverse SAD happens in the summer. 

There are also different characteristics that define this disorder. 

Look

Winter blues happen because of the lack of sunlight. 

However, summer is basically defined by a lot of sunlight. 

Now, let’s talk about this summer affliction.


What is Reverse Seasonal
Affective Disorder?


According to statistics, a tenth of the people experiencing SAD have the summertime SAD.

What’s the cause?

If SAD is a result of the lack of sunlight, Reverse SAD is due to too much sun. 

Terrible, isn’t it?

Summer is supposed to be about fun–going to the beach or just lying out in the park to be blanketed by the sun’s rays. 

Being cooped up in the house is not an option in the summer. 

Six people with surfboards on beach

However

You also have to come to terms that too much of anything will always turn out bad. 

Case in point: Reverse SAD. 

So what’s the problem?

Heat and humidity. 

Too much heat and humidity is not ideal for your health. However, it also has some effect on your brain. 

Just imagine

You’re out having fun and you’re sweating profusely. Not only that, the humidity is making you feel uncomfortable. 

Those are real adverse effects of the summertime.

The result?

You might become agitated because of too much heat and humidity. 

It’s best that you are aware of this so you would be mindful of what happens when summer is here. 

Not only that

The change in season can also affect a person’s sleep-wake cycle. 

In the case of summer, as people tend to have more fun with longer daylight, they might not be having enough sleep. 

Is that a problem?

Definitely!

The production of melatonin may be affected with the disruption of natural sleep schedule. 

Too much sun also slows down the production of melatonin. 

For those who don’t know

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is important in the balance of the circadian rhythm. 

Low melatonin means having difficulty sleeping. 

Sounds familiar?

Yep! We are referring to insomnia. 

Insomnia is one of the major symptoms of Reverse SAD. 

However

There are also psychological reasons for summertime SAD. 


The Psychology of Summertime SAD


Have you heard of people going to the gym just a few weeks shy of summer?

They want to get the beach bod before it’s actually time to don swimwear.

Fear of of being body-shamed

A lot of people fear that they shouldn’t wear swimwear if they don’t have the body for it. 

Perhaps some would say no to going to the beach. 

While others acquiesce, they might not totally enjoy being in the beach when they know they won’t be swimming anyway. 

Man with four women running and jumping on beach, back view

Do you get where I’m getting with this?

The feeling of being inadequate can make a person feel depressed. 

Plus, if the person chose to be at home rather than going out with friends, then they will experience FOMO. 

Ever heard of it?

It means “fear of missing out.”

You will be left behind and you will have that creeping feeling inside of you because you are out of the loop. 

That’s not good for a person’s psyche. 

On the other hand

Perhaps the person overworked their body in order to be ready for the summer. 

Exercise is good for the body, but you might strain yourself when you work out too much. 

There’s also this:

The possibility of not eating to lose weight. 

When a person is not nourished enough, they will not be healthy enough to function. 

That could cause someone to be depressed too. 

Sad lady on beach

Symptoms of Reverse SAD


How do you know that you have summertime SAD? 

Here are some common symptoms:

Insomnia

Perhaps it’s because there is too much light. 

Remember, winter is characterized by shorter daytime. 

On the other hand, summertime has a longer daytime. 

When there’s too much light

People might linger on their activities. 

They might also be too buzzed to go to sleep and that would have serious effects on the circadian rhythm.

Loss of appetite

Look, this could also be related to the psychological effect of summer SAD. 

You don’t want to eat because you want to maintain a beach body. 

As a result, this also happens:

Weight loss

People usually want to lose weight, but there is a proper weight for every person. 

Know how to calculate your body mass index (BMI) here

So, what’s the deal?

You don’t want to fall over or under your appropriate BMI. 

If you are losing a lot of weight during the summer, then you might consider the possibility of having summertime SAD. 

Anxiety

Being anxious is a sign of depression. 

But if you are only feeling this over the summer, then it could just be summertime SAD. 

Man looking anxious

Manic

If people suffering from winter SAD don’t have energy, people experiencing summer SAD are manic. 

They have a lot of energy to spend. 

In fact

This could be a major reason why a person’s circadian rhythm becomes messed up. 

This overflowing of energy could also be the reason why a person may be losing weight. 


What Can You Do?


Sometimes, the cure for Reverse SAD is as simple as this: 

1. Sleep

Yep! It could be as simple as that.  

Just try to get in an hour or nap or two in the middle of the day. 

How does this help?

That hour of sleep could just help you recover from the lack of sleep you experienced the night before. 

Studies have found that afternoon naps are good for you

You see

It could alleviate stress and it could lift your mood!

Or

If you couldn’t help yourself but stay out late at night for some summer fun, then try to make up for lost sleeping hours. 

Allow the body to recover the energy spent the other day or night. 

2. Eat a balanced diet

If you are trying to lose weight, then do it properly. 

Get a balanced diet and eat food in moderation.

However

Since loss of appetite is a symptom of Reverse SAD, you have to force yourself to down food when you need to. 

That means

Don’t skip a meal!

Lady with healthy dinner

If napping and eating well don’t help you, then perhaps it’s something that needs better psychological attention.

3. Seek a psychiatrist to figure out what’s going on

Since winter SAD is more popular than summer SAD, some people with Reverse SAD are harder to diagnose. 

In some instances, the issue was linked to bipolar disorder. 

Obviously

A professional will be of better help you get to the bottom of things. 

Beyond that

These may not be your symptoms. These could be symptoms that you see on your friend or other people close to you. 

It’s good that you are aware of these things. 

This way

You can help others cope with Reverse SAD. 

No! No! No!

This is not about your acting like a psychologist–of course not! Leave that to the professional. 

But if you at least know that you can steer them to the right direction. 

Three females looking happy

Summary


Are you feeling manic over the summer? Or maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps you just want to stay at home while all your friends are having a blast. Are you feeling sad? That’s probably because you have SAD–the reverse of the one that we know. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is more popularly known as winter blues. However, it can also affect a person during the summer, wherein it is referred to as the Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

What is Reverse SAD? It’s an affliction where a person feels depressed during the summer. There are many factors to this. One, it could be because of the heat and humidity. Or it could be because of various psychological factors affecting a person during the summer. 

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