Seasonal Affective Disorder - In Summertime?

By: Gen Wright

It is probably something that affects everyone to a greater or lesser degree: the rain battering off the windows and the temperature decreasing bit by unwelcome bit, until we move from autumn into the grip of winter, and feel less than pleased that the summer sunshine has well and truly disappeared for another year. Of course, there's a big difference between feeling displeased or dismayed at the weather, and feeling genuinely depressed by it. And while many of us probably share a preference for summer, there are those for whom it's the warm weather that is disliked.

While seasonal affective disorder otherwise known as SAD (which has been recognised by medics since the mid- 1980s) - is pretty well-known, it's something most of us would naturally associate only with the shorter days and darker evenings of autumn and winter, those lower temperature months when sunshine and blue skies seem like a distant memory.

Recently, however, a new seasonal affective disorder type has come to light: recent news reports have highlighted a form of the disorder where people are negatively affected by too much sun, with over half a million sufferers in the UK. The actual causes of the disorder aren't yet fully understood, with some experts suggesting that summer SAD may be hormonal or possibly down to psychology.

Often it is the case during winter SAD that people who suffer from the condition will benefit from light therapy. It seems, on the other hand, that Seasonal Affective Disorder experienced during the summer months can actually mean that light has the opposite effect - with some people experiencing an intense dislike of sunshine - to the extent that foreign holidays to sunny climes like Spain or Greece are avoided in favour of staying at home and out of reach of the sun's rays.

Although the summer form of the disorder is rarer than its cold weather relation, the symptoms are in fact no less serious - with irritability and disturbed sleeping patterns being reported as some of the things people with the summer type of SAD are likely to experience.

So, while most of us relish the increased hours of sunlight in the summer months, and - weather permitting - all the barbecuing and seaside fun that goes along with it, it's worth remembering that if you find this time of year challenging, you're not alone. You may perhaps even be surprised to learn that there's even a Facebook page dedicated to supportive discussion around the subject!

If you have ever experienced the summer form of seasonal affective disorder, and would like to share your thoughts with others then you could investigate the Facebook page - summer seasonal disorder may be less common, but it's always good to know that you're not the only one suffering.

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