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Treating Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder

You may have heard of the condition seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a common disorder that causes some people to feel lethargic, down, and at times depressed during the winter months. This is typically caused by shorter days, increased darkness, and cold, unpleasant weather conditions. Further, there is also a lesser-known subtype of SAD known as reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Reverse SAD is essentially the opposite of typical SAD, which is also sometimes known as winter fatigue, the winter blues, or other similar titles. Instead of occurring during the winter months, reverse SAD typically occurs during the summer. It can lead to many of the same symptoms but during the opposite time of the year. Moreover, people who experience this disorder often begin to notice their symptoms starting to lessen or go away in the fall months. 

At Sage Recovery, we recognize that for some who struggle with this disorder, the symptoms of reverse SAD are more than just unpleasant; they can be truly debilitating and impact your overall quality of life. However, by participating in treatment, we can help our patients experience lasting relief from SAD and its subtypes. 

Understanding Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder

The biggest factor that plays a role in SAD is the change in sunlight throughout the day. When there is less light throughout the day, it impacts the brain’s ability to produce a chemical called serotonin. This is a feel-good chemical in the brain that is associated with a lot of different mental processes, but most notably, your mood. When someone struggles with traditional SAD, their brain isn’t producing the same levels of serotonin that they are used to, and this is what causes a drop in mood. 

However, with reverse SAD, the problem is not too little sunlight but rather too much. If you struggle with this disorder, it is likely because the excess sunlight throughout the day has impacted your circadian rhythm. This is why people who experience this disorder often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Their overall quality of sleep is also likely impacted as well. 

If you are someone who struggles with this disorder, it would be typical for you to experience some of the following symptoms during springtime or summer:

Seeking Professional Help for Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you think that you may be struggling with reverse SAD, consider making an appointment with your healthcare professional. In some cases, they might recommend medication to help treat your symptoms. They may also recommend that you try talk therapy with a mental health counselor. This is a great way to have a better understanding of what you’re experiencing and why. 

A mental health provider can also work with you to learn how to better manage your symptoms of anxiety and depression and find effective ways to cope. At Sage Recovery, we offer an adult mental health intensive outpatient program (IOP). This program utilizes approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and much more. Moreover, if you are struggling with symptoms of reverse SAD, this program may be a good fit for you. 

Treating Reverse SAD at Home

In addition to seeking professional help for Reverse SAD, there are things that you can do on your own that may help you to find some relief. If it is your sleep quality that is one of the biggest aspects of your life affected by this disorder, consider starting by trying to address that first. Good quality sleep is so incredibly important not only for managing stress and preventing anxiety but for your overall mood too. If you aren’t getting the quality sleep that you need, then you’re likely going to notice a lot of other aspects of your life being negatively affected. 

In the summer months, not only is sunlight more intense but the sun is out for a longer period of time each day. Your brain is used to associating nightfall with your body beginning to prepare for sleep. However, when the sun is setting hours later than it used to be, it’s not surprising that your brain’s signals are going to be pretty disrupted and confused. This is likely going to be even more problematic for those whose schedule requires them to go to sleep early; when the sun has not yet set.  

The good news is that there are ways that you can still get good quality sleep even in the summer months. Consider investing in a good-quality set of blackout curtains for your bedroom. This can help block out light while you are trying to sleep. 

Make sure to also try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day so that your sleep schedule won’t get even more out of wack. Son, you’ll be back to getting the good quality sleep that your body needs. 

Many people struggle in silence with mental health disorders for far too long. They might not realize that what they are struggling with is an actual disorder that requires professional treatment to overcome. Maybe they don’t truly believe that treatment will work for them. If this is your situation, you are not alone. You don’t have to continue to live this way. At Sage Recovery, we have helped countless patients achieve better mental health through our individualized and comprehensive treatment programs. To start working towards mental wellness today, give us a call at (512) 306-1394. A member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.