Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a well-known condition – one that most people associate with cold, dark winter months. But research shows that just as many people, if not more, suffer from seasonal anxiety during the summer.
Why is that? And why doesn’t anyone talk about it?
For those that have already experienced panic attacks, summer weather can be triggering. The intense heat and symptoms that come with it (sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, and more) are unwelcome reminders of those that are felt during moments of extreme anxiety.
Even for those who have never experienced a panic attack in the past, the warmer weather can be triggering. Dehydration and lack of sleep caused by the uncomfortable conditions and longer days can leave the body vulnerable to stress, triggering an anxiety reaction. According to professor Norman Rosenthal, “While many people think that light is an agent of happiness and energy, for some, light has the opposite effect. And the oppressive heat can cause people to feel agitated.”
This poor reaction to longer, warmer days is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder (or Summer SAD). According to research, it affects more women than men, and one in ten people who have SAD also suffer from RSAD in the summer.
The surprising link to allergies
One unexpected cause of Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal allergies. Research has shown that hay fever can cause feelings of anxiety and stress in affected individuals, especially adolescents. While allergies are a common problem, and typically seen as an annoyance more than anything else, for some they can become an overwhelming emotional burden. Weeks on end of sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, and other unwelcome symptoms simply take a toll.
Signs and symptoms of Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder
You may not immediately recognize summer anxiety for what it is. Symptoms, such as dizziness and changes in blood pressure, can easily be attributed to any number of heat-related conditions. If you suspect that you may suffer from Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, these may be some of the other signs to watch for:
- Anxious thoughts
- Shortness of breath
- Lethargy and fatigue
What can you do to alleviate symptoms if you suffer from summer anxiety? One of the best and easiest fixes is to avoid going outside on the hottest days. Instead, stay indoors (in air conditioning, if possible), and limit your exposure to sunlight.
In addition, some people who experience summer anxiety find that “dark therapy,” or closing themselves in a darkened room for a few hours every day, helps to alleviate symptoms. Note: Using light-blocking curtains can aid with sleep issues – one of the main causes of summer anxiety.
One final option is to consider allergy clearing therapy. If the cause of your summer anxiety is rooted in seasonal allergies, allergy clearing therapy can help get to the root of your problem and eliminate it for good.
Reach out today to set up your free consultation and get started on the road to a happy and healthy summer!