Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder
The type of seasonal depression known as summer Depression or reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder follows a pattern of an onset of depression during spring, with a remission of symptoms occurring during the winter. Seasonal
affective disorder( SAD) typically refers to a pattern of depression resulting during the winter months, followed by remission in the summer and spring. This pattern can occur in people with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder or Depression.
According to one study, 35 percent of all cases of SAD depression occur during the summer months(Fernandes 1996). Although this seems high, this works out to a very small percentage of the entire population, which translates into less motivation for researchers to study it . So we don’t know much about it. We do know summer Depression occurs more frequently at low latitudes , while winter Depression at higher ones. In the United States, studies show that people in the south are more likely to suffer from summer Depression( Fernandes 1996).
Two types of Depression
Depression is associated with two different patterns: endogenous and atypical. In endogenous depression people lose their appetite resulting in weight and also sleep less. In atypical depression people sleep and eat too much, crave carbohydrates and experience weight gain.
Interestingly, those who suffer from winter depression more commonly have atypical symptoms. Where as in people with summer depression, are more likely to have a loss of desire to eat, difficulty sleeping, and an experience of weight loss( Wehr, 1987).
Some patients have reported that their mood is affected by temperature and humidity. Although this is not entirely understood, it is in contrast to winter depression where sunlight is believed to play more of a role(Boyce 1988).
Treatment for summer SAD has been discovered by those who suffer from it. The underlying mechanisms are poorly understood, and so research has not pointed us to many solutions. However, many people who suffer from reversal seasonal affective disorder will use self regulating techniques that cool their body temperature during the summer: using fans, staying in air conditioning and avoiding going outside during the hotter months can help. Some people will incorporate regular cold showers and swimming into their routine to help with the temperature issues that may be triggering the depression.
Regular protocols that are used for treating depression are also used to treat depression with this summer component.
Antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are the two most common methods of treatment. We are certain that with all forms of depression, the thoughts that people have often generate most of the feelings we experience. For this reason, therapy that helps people suffering from depression usually targets exploring and challenging the thought patterns that lead to depressive symptoms.
Therapy focuses on examining the thoughts underlying the depression that generate the feelings associated with depression.
Boyce, P., Parker, G. (1988) Seasonal affective disorder in the Southern Hemisphere.American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, 96-99.
Fernandes P, Avasthi A, Santosh PJ.Familial Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder: A case Report Indian J. Psychiat., 1996, 38 (4) 257 – 259.
Wehr, T.A., Sack, D.A. Rosenthal,N.E.( 1987) Seasonal affective disorder with summer depression and winter hypomania. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1602 – 1603.
Living in the cold: 2nd International Symposium : proceedings of the Second Symposium on Living in the Cold, held in Le Hohwald (France), April 23-29, 1989
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