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You’re probably familiar with the phrase seasonal depression, where your moods can fluctuate with the weather. Many people experience it, and it’s not just during winter months, but summer can be a time where many others suffer from it as well. As it turns out, there are reports that climate change and global warming could be putting a strain on people’s mental health too.

SO SAD Seasonal Depression

As USA Today reports, there is also a phenomenon called SO SAD, or Summer Onset Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it affects 6%, or over 19 million people, living in the northern U.S. It’s easy to get cranky, tired and upset when the weather’s hot, but there are other factors that can lead to SO SAD depression. There are financial strains that come with summer vacations and rising utility bills. During the summer, people often have a lot of down time, and being inactive is when depression and anxiety can kick in. Another factor many don’t realize is when people diet to get in shape for the summer, it can cause depression as well. “If your 30-day-miracle-lan lacks nutritional value, your gut’s ability to produce serotonin is impacted negatively,” USA Today reports. And having low serotonin is one of the key chemical imbalances to depression.

Who Gets It and How to Avoid It

While anybody can be affected by SO SAD, this report tells us that women and children can be very susceptible to it. As USA Today continues, “Additionally, the heat can exacerbate symptoms of clinical depression, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses in people who already suffer from them or in those with a family history of mental illness.” The symptoms to look out for are the same as any other kind of depressive disorder, such as insomnia, weight loss, decreased appetite, and decreased interest in things you previously liked. Essentially, you know it when you feel it, and it usually feels pretty yucky. The ways to fight SO SAD are similar to fighting other forms of depression, like eating healthier nutritious meals, exercising, making time for yourself, and when it’s hot, getting to an air conditioner or a pool to cool down.

Other Seasons to Be Wary For Your Mental Health

The summer is now over, so the overbearing heat should no longer be an issue for good mental health. But for many, the onset of autumn and winter is a time to be wary. As Bustle reports, one reason why people can become depressed during autumn and winter is the days are shorter, and lack of sunlight can bring on depression. As one doctor told Bustle, “Researchers have even noticed seasonal variations in stock market behavior, the so-called SAD effect, in which stocks tend to be undervalued in the autumn when people’s mood is often lower and overvalued in the spring as a result of excessive exuberance.” Some who suffer from seasonal depression often turn to light therapy, where spending time under the right kind of artificial light can help alleviate SAD symptoms. Whenever you feel seasonal depression coming on, realize that it’s a natural phenomenon that happens to millions of people, and it’s treatable with the same methods you treat other forms of depression, like medication, exercise, therapy, and more.  

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