Summertime SAD-ness

Hawaii has its seasons – hot, rainy, warm, and warm and rainy. It may not seem like it, but those seasons can affect our moods in surprising ways.

When you think of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), what comes to mind? I’m guessing you’ve imagined a depressed person walking in the cold, surrounded by snow and a dark night sky. Ninety times out of 100, you’d be right.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a common mood disorder that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. alone; it’s characterized by depression that occurs as seasons change. Most people who have SAD get it during the winter as a reaction to less sunlight. 

Winter SAD symptoms can include:

• Irritability

• Low energy

• Oversleeping

• Weight gain

However, about 10 percent of those affected by SAD get it during the summer. And if you live somewhere close to the equator, like Hawaii – the closest American state to the equator, there’s an even greater chance that you’ll get summer SAD. 

Summer SAD is a reaction to increased heat and symptoms can include:

• Agitation or anxiety

• Insomnia

• Poor appetite

• Weight loss

A person with SAD may also experience hopelessness, and social withdrawal.

If you’re feeling down or depressed, please know that you don’t have to go through it alone. Talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling and see what treatment options are available to you.