Jun 13 2021

Summertime Blues are Real – Doctors have a Name for it

Published by at 11:55 am under General

The Summertime Blues are Real – Doctors have a Name for it.

If the warm days of summer bring sadness, you may be suffering from Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder.1*

You’ve heard of the Jan-Feb blues when people feel depressed or blue during the shorter days of winter. A more technical term is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Researchers have found that there is a summer version of this as well. While everyone else seems to be enjoying every sunshiny day, some people feel lethargic and down. And there’s a scientific reason behind it. 1*

Psychiatrist Norman E. Rosenthal, along with his team of researchers, first described SAD in 1984. While most people who experience this describe a mild version of general melancholy and lethargy, approximately 5 percent of US adults experience SAD in an extreme version to the point it affects their day-to-day lives.  With SAD, short winter days and limited sun exposure are thought to be at the core of the problem.  “…SAD is believed to be triggered by a disturbance in the normal circadian rhythm of the body. Light entering through the eyes influences this rhythm, and any seasonal variation in night/day pattern can cause a disruption leading to depression…” Through sharing his findings regarding SAD with various people across the country, Dr. Rosenthal found that many people felt the same thing happened to them, but during the summer months.  Those with Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is less common than its counterpart, feel sadness during the months between March and October. So what are the causes? After all, sunshine, warm weather, and being outdoors should make us feel happy, right? So what does Summer SAD look and feel like?(1,2)*

According to the doctor, “…Summer SAD is more of an agitated depression…” Summer SAD comes with a lowered appetite and insomnia, while with Winter SAD people sleep and eat more. It seems to be more common with heat and humidity. It is believed that the same compounds in the body that regulate body temperature are the same that regulate mood. These are norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.1*

From a medical standpoint, depression is defined​ as “…a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of depressed mood or sadness and the often profound loss of interest in things that usually bring you pleasure…” There are various types of depression with the seven most common being Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Post Partum Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Atypical Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Many mental health professionals are focused on all the different types of depression, but because SAD is seasonal, it often gets overlooked as just seasonal ups and downs and therefore is misunderstood.1*

Higher pollen and allergies may also play a role in Summer SAD. Increased pollen and the immune response to allergens might cause the body to release biological compounds called cytokines that regulate inflammation and have been connected to depression. Allergies make us tired, drag us down and that can be depressing when you are feeling you should be outside because the weather is nice.1*

Depression and mood have been tied to the health of the gut. Keeping your gut healthy, limiting alcohol, and avoiding sugary and processed food will help with your mood. With 90% of our serotonin produced in the gut, then carried to the brain through the vagus nerve, a healthy gut is an essential and key component in maintaining elevated moods and good mental health. While this may not be the answer in all cases, it has been shown to play a prevalent role for many. Trying to simplify something as serious as depression suggesting there is an easy answer would be reckless as severe types of depression cause people to feel hopeless and can lead to suicidal thoughts. In these cases medical intervention is necessary.*

Regular exercise, good, consistent sleep, having a positive support network, and eating right along with taking Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical Probiotics Consortia™ are all good habits to adopt to boost your mental health. If you are affected by mood disorders, you might consider keeping a mood journal. This could help you identify if your mood is affected by the seasons or is something more. If your mood doesn’t improve over a two-week period, talking to a mental health professional is a good next step to identify if you have a more serious condition. If you ever are severely depressed, don’t hesitate to seek help right away. Every state has a mental health hotline and suicide prevention line.*

As for the summertime blues or Summer SAD, try to give yourself the rest and break you need. A nap, a cool dip in the water or shower, a road trip or just trying something new can sometimes help. *  

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/well/mind/summer-seasonal-affective-disorder
  2. https://uniquemindcare.com/7-common-types-of-depression/
  3. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/helping-someone-with-depression.htm

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