Seasonal Affective Disorder Grows in Spring

April 12, 2019

For many people, the arrival spring can be an immediate mood booster - the flowers are blooming, the days are longer and the air is warmer. But for people who suffer from depression, springtime can be extremely difficult.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most frequently associated with winter months, but some people with SAD experience onset in the spring, with symptoms worsening into the summer months. This is often referred to as summer depression, and can cause poor sleep, poor appetite, weight loss/gain, agitation or anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, and/or frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

"Researchers speculate that these feelings have to do with the changing of light at these times of year," explains Laura Herzog, LCPC at Senior Life Solutions. "As the days become longer, our energy increases, which can also lead to increases in agitation and anxiety levels."

"People often don't always know when they are experiencing depression," states Dr. Ron Johnson, contracted psychiatrist at Senior Life Solutions. "They know that they don't feel well, but they aren't sure why." Johnson goes on to explain that depression can present itself with physical symptoms like GI problems, headaches or poor sleep.
Herzog suggests that people who may be feeling depressed this spring or summer, keep a journal for a month. "I ask patients to keep a daily record of their mood, appetite, sleep, concentration, memory, energy levels and feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness when they start therapy. This helps us determine what symptoms are consistent, and what the patient may need to talk to their primary care provider about in order to rule out any medical conditions."

"It is important for people who experience SAD to understand that they are not alone, and that there is help," states Dr. Johnson. "The best treatment for depression is a combination of medication and talk therapy. We offer specialized treatment of this sort for older adults here at Senior Life Solutions."

To learn more about SAD, or Senior Life Solutions at Pinckneyville Community Hospital, please call 618-357-8811.



CONTACT: Jennifer Barbour, 618-357-8898