LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's estimated that some 18 million Americans suffer from a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. While it's typically associated with the winter months, new findings show that there are some people vulnerable to the condition during the summer.
Shorter days and longer nights have been linked to bringing on the winter blues. But now, psychiatrists like Dr. Dale Archer with the Institute for Neuropsychiatry are starting to see Reversal Seasonal Affective Disorder. "This is fairly recent that we're starting to understand this," says Dr. Archer, "and it hasn't nearly had the research into it that the wintertime depression and SAD has, but there appears to be a group of people that actually get depressed in the summer."
Experts say SAD is more than feeling down. If you're feeling a lack of energy, poor sleep, poor appetite, anxious or hopeless - you could be experiencing this form of seasonal depression. "The physical symptoms are what let us know that this may be something more," says Dr. Archer, "and it may indeed be a chemical imbalance of the brain."
Most of the people who deal with this summer syndrome live in a hot climate and are pre-disposed to other depressive disorders. "Our thoughts are that these individuals all have some sort of genetic DNA component to their brain chemistry that makes them predisposed," says Dr. Archer.
Psychiatrists says there are several reasons for this syndrome ranging from stress to disruption of schedules to body image issues. If you feel like you can't regain control on your own, it's time to seek help. Dr. Archer says, "Any time you have the physical symptoms of depression that are present for over two weeks, that's cause for concern because it does become a vicious cycle and the longer it's left untreated, the greater the likelihood that this will become more and more difficult to treat."
The steps to take on your own are simple: make yourself a priority, exercise, avoid unnecessary pressure and get some rest! "Sleep is the most important way for the brain to recover from stress and trauma," says Dr. Archer, "you could have a horribly stressful day, get a good night sleep and wake up feeling good to go."
Mood stabilizers and anti-depressants are only prescribed if the symptoms do not go away. If you are experiencing feelings that you think might be depression or you have another question on mental health, Dr. Archer has a website where you can log on, post your question to him and he will answer it at no charge. Click here to enter TellDrD.com.