No, you may not be imagining things. If you notice feeling a little more sluggish, down in the dumps and plain old sad during the Summer or Winter time, you may be experiencing a little treat clinician’s refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
While the name is somewhat confusing as it’s not a true disorder, SAD is actually a version of Major Depression that presents itself in specific seasons, for two or more years.
Because of the seasonal influences (think changes in sunlight, temperature, rain, etc.) that triggers the onset of symptoms, SAD tends to repeat itself more frequently than non-seasonal related Major Depression. We don’t always give thought to the changes our body experiences with a shifting season; changes in melatonin, circadian rhythm, reduction in Vitamin D, allergies, seasonal stressors that affect cortisol production.
Physical health impacts mental health and vice versa. Paying attention to the way your body responds to seasonal changes is a great way to begin making a plan of action to reduce the overall impact on your emotional health.
If you notice a marked change in functioning during specific seasons, talk to your therapist about your treatment options; CBT, Light Therapy, adjustments in diet or vitamin intake, and medication could be viable options to help bring some relief. At the very least, talk about your feelings with a professional, or safe friend or family member.
Sure, you can wait it out, but why wait alone?
It takes community to maintain a human. – Unknown
For more detailed information on SAD and MDD, visit NIMH.
Jessica Lombardo is a licensed mental health counselor and certified addiction professional practicing in Pinellas County, Florida. Jessica works with individuals, couples, teens (13-17), college students, and families with a holistic approach and individualized methods. To schedule a FREE consultation, fill out this form and we can discuss more about if working with Jessica may be a good fit for you.