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Seasonal Depression Is Not Exclusive to Wintertime

Apr 09, 2021

Seasonal Depression Is Not Exclusive to Wintertime

From spring cleaning to spring break, many of us look forward to the upbeat, energized feeling springtime brings after a long, dark winter. Unfortunately, the sigh of relief that comes with warmer weather isn’t a universal experience.

Seasonal affective disorder, typically associated with winter, can happen in the warmer months—a variant known as “summertime depression” that manifests when spring arrives.

“Many people are often surprised to learn that suicide rates peak in the springtime,” says Dr. Steven Taylor, MD, behavioral health specialist with Kettering Health Network. “While we don’t fully know why this happens, it certainly does happen year after year.”

Here are a few factors that contribute to this phenomenon:

  • The expectation gap: People may rationalize feeling poorly in the winter. But when spring arrives, and people with anxiety and depression don’t feel better, those unmet expectations result in despair and hopelessness.
  • The over-amped feeling: Many of us are familiar with the energy boost that follows increased sunlight. But for people who are severely depressed, this shift in energy can result in the motivation to move forward with suicidal behavior.
  • Dealing with spring allergies: Studies show that symptoms of depression are more common in individuals with allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies. The inflammatory response that occurs with increased pollen may lead to worsening depression.

If you consistently pull away from or don’t enjoy the things you usually enjoy, or you constantly feel sad and hopeless, discuss your symptoms with a mental health professional or your doctor.

And don’t forget to check in on your friends this time of year, too—even if it feels uncomfortable or scary.

“If you think someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide, it’s really important to understand that asking them about these thoughts does not ‘plant seeds in their heads.’ Instead, reaching out shows you care and gives people who are struggling the opportunity to talk about their thoughts and possibly get help,” Dr. Taylor says.

Get help now

If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, call the 24/7 suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.

For further help, learn more about our Kettering Health Network mental-health services.