Have you considered clinical trials for Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Can summer produce depression?

Yes, summer sadness is as real as the winter blues. Although it is less common to feel depressed in summer than in winter, both stem from seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

SAD is a depressive mood disorder brought on by the changing seasons. Typically, this presents during the winter months when the day length decreases, reducing our exposure to sunlight. However, 20% of people¹ with SAD have symptoms during the summer months. 

Seasonal affective disorder significantly impacts your life. It can alter your patterns of thought, emotion, behavior, and sociability. 

What is seasonal affective disorder in summer?

Summer-pattern SAD is very different from winter depression. In winter, seasonal affective disorder will typically result in a depressive state with slowed thoughts and actions. 

If you have summer depression, you may experience irritability, insomnia, or anxiety.  

You may also have feelings of sadness, despair, and worry about what the future will bring. You may also notice changes within your body, including irritability, reduced appetite, and possible weight loss. 

How is seasonal affective disorder diagnosed?

Seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression. To be diagnosed with SAD, you must meet the criteria for a depressive disorder along with the following: 

  • Depressive episodes are related to a certain time of the year.

  • Depressive episodes disappear at the opposite time of the year.

  • Seasonal major depressive episodes significantly outnumber the number of nonseasonal episodes that may have occurred over your lifetime.

These symptoms should happen for two or more years. 

Why does it occur?

There is no clear answer to why this happens. Scientists have studied several variables, including sunlight exposure and temperature, but they haven’t associated a strong link with summer-pattern SAD.

What does seasonal affective disorder in summer feel like?

Reverse SAD is less common, so there’s not as much research dedicated to it. 

However, existing research shows a person with seasonal affective disorder in summer exhibits depressive tendencies, and the brain essentially cannot turn off. Here are common symptoms:


Depression affects the way you think and feel about everything around you. You may be unable to function effectively with your environment. As a result, you may withdraw from your loved ones, activities, and commitments. 

It can have massive implications on your life. You might feel like the world is slipping away from you, and these thoughts can cause a downward spiral. Depression extends to the inability to find pleasure, motivation, and willpower, making it hard to overcome.

Researchers believe that the underproduction of serotonin causes depression. Serotonin is known as the “happy chemical,” and it’s important for mood regulation. Studies have found lower levels in people with depression.

Serotonin is in SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors), a class of antidepressants. 


Seasonal depression can elicit feelings of anxiety. 

Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension about the future. There doesn’t have to be any particular event, person, or activity that causes these feelings. It can make you hesitant and unable to partake in daily activities as you feel an overriding sense of doom. 


Are you having trouble sleeping? Difficulty sleeping is a common sign of reverse seasonal affective disorder. The summer nights can become very hot, and perhaps you are finding it harder and harder to sleep at night. 

Sleep is very important for your body because it regulates many mechanisms. Studies have found that less sleep can lead to irritability and an inability to concentrate. 

The mechanism behind this change in sleep patterns may be due to decreased melatonin production. The pineal gland produces melatonin in our brain and signals that it is nighttime. Sunlight inhibits melatonin production, which may lead to insomnia.

Decreased appetite and weight loss

Studies have noted decreased eating in people with reverse seasonal affective disorder. As a result, you would expect to lose weight, further stressing your body.


Are you finding it harder and harder to tolerate things and people? Irritability can occur in people experiencing summer-pattern seasonal affective disorder. 

How is seasonal affective disorder in summer treated?

You can treat reverse SAD, and your doctor will suggest the best management plan. While the mechanism behind seasonal affective disorder in summer is unclear, one theory is that an excessive amount of sun could cause summer depression.

There is debate about whether phototherapies associated with winter-pattern depression could be applied to reverse seasonal affective disorder. 

The lowdown

SAD can occur any time of the year, including summer. Are you worried that you are experiencing SAD? There are numerous treatments available, so speak to your doctor. If seasonal depression is affecting your quality of life, your doctor will be able to create a customized program for you.

Have you considered clinical trials for Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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