by Dr. Devin Shoquist

Q: I’ve heard of seasonal depression in the winter, but can it happen in the summer?

A: The elements necessary for classic seasonal depression, clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), are not generally present in the summer as they are in the winter. SAD is typically a result of a prolonged lack of sunlight and physical activity, and we are learning that this likely results in significant vitamin D deficiency and hormonal changes that can cause depressive symptoms.

With that said, a person can experience periods of feeling down, moody / irritable, and tired during the summer months, particularly during heat waves. This is likely the result of dehydration and sleep problems –and even increased recreational alcohol use – that can occur with warmer temperatures. More serious depressive symptoms such as lack of enjoyment, lack of motivation, poor energy, suicidal thoughts, problems sleeping, and changes in appetite can simply happen any time of year, even when the sun is out!

If you or someone you love shows signs or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you see a doctor for evaluation and appropriate medication treatment before it becomes a significant problem.

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