As we roll on into the summer time here in the Northern Hemisphere, a lot of people start rejoicing as it means sunshine, flowers and picnicking!
However, as beautiful as nature can be when it's seasons change, it can unfortunately bring with it a range of problems that can affect humans physically and mentally.
For most people, these problems seem to arise mainly in winter which is more commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Winter SAD, but as surprising as it may be, an estimated 10% of SAD sufferers get depression symptoms with the onset of summer time.
This is referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, Reverse SAD or Summer SAD.
What causes Reverse SAD?
Reverse or summer time SAD is less common and therefore we can only speculate what may cause it.
Too much sunlight: Melatonin which is the hormone that is stimulated by darkness and helps us to sleep is reduced. This is because of the longer days and the sun setting at a much later time - which causes disturbances in the body clock and sleep cycles. People are also more likely to stay up later because of the longer days, thus getting less sleep than usual.
Heat intolerance: People who suffer from heat intolerance find that they experience anxiety like symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth, sweating and palpitations.
Because these symptoms are mimicking actual anxiety symptoms, it can cause the person to become extremely panicky.
Longer Days, shorter nights: Longer days could bring about feelings of boredom. It is also thought that stay at homes mothers may become agitated trying to occupy children who might experience boredom during their summer holiday.
Allergies and insects: Some people can experience allergies when summer time comes along. This is because the pollen count is at it's highest. The summer also brings with it all the bees, flies and other insects. If you are allergic to bee stings or are intolerant of insects and bugs, this can bring on anxiety for you.
Body Image: Summer time means less clothes and for people who struggle with negative body image, they may feel embarrassed at the thought of having to wear less clothes. Another thing to bear in mind is that a person with a negative body image may feel envious of someone wearing shorts or a bikini - someone who they think has a nice body. This can lead to feelings of shame and self hatred.
How does Reverse or Winter SAD differ from Summer SAD?
How can you treat Reverse/Summer SAD?
Again, Reverse SAD is not very common, but here are a few suggestions:
Stay cool: Stay indoors when the sun is at it's hottest, and go outside when it's cooler and the sun is not as intense. Keep a fan or air conditioning on in your house and buy a small battery operated fan to keep in your bag when you go out. Take cool showers and put ice blocks in your drinks.
Keep hydrated: Lack of fluids can aggravate you and lead to headaches which can lead to feelings of anxiety. So make sure you drink lots of water.
Keep your skin moisturised: Some people experience itchiness, dryness and tightness on their skin in the summer. If you find this happening, opt to use a very natural and simple soap made of something like vegetable glycerine or oatmeal, and moisturise your skin with a natural body lotion or something like coconut oil. Stay away from products with Sodium laurel sulphate in them as this causes dryness and itchiness in the skin.
Try to go to bed at the same time each night: At the peak of summer, the sun only sets at 21:30 which can really upset the body clock. So eat your dinner the same time every night, and get yourself a sleep mask and wear that over your eyes in order to try to get you to sleep at the same time every night. If you struggling to sleep at night because of the heat, install a fan in your room and open the windows to allow in fresh air. You could also try sleeping in light cotton clothes or even naked! :)