You may have heard of ‘winter blues’ and ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD), but for some, spring’s warmer temperatures and brighter days aren’t enough to lift depression. Come the first weeks of spring, many people are suddenly, surprisingly, knocked to their knees with anxiety and depression. In fact, a study published by JAMA Psychiatry found that as the hours of sunlight increased, so did the risk of suicide.
This is new information for many who believe spring is usually a happy, hopeful season. ‘Spring Fever’ signifies exuberance, energy, optimism, and excitement. But for those who suffer from depression, the effect of spring’s new beginnings can be drastically different.
One mental health worker who was diagnosed with depression in 2001 describes it as, “It is like the winter was a duvet to hide underneath, but in the long summer hours or daylight hours I felt more exposed.”
If you find yourself dreading the arrival of spring, here are some reasons why:
All change — even the good and healthy change we need and pursue — brings with it an element of anxiety. The change in seasons requires an element of adjustment, and adjustment isn’t always easy.
Just as the lack of sunlight may alter brain levels of certain mood-controlling chemicals in November, the same moody chemicals and their messengers get confused when the light comes out in the spring.
April holds many milestones and events, like graduations, weddings, and holidays. Seasonal cues trigger our senses and can cause us to look back with nostalgia, regret, or with unfulfilled dreams and desires.
There are several studies that have shown a link between allergies and depression. Allergy attacks trigger the release of cytokines that are known to increase sleep, decrease appetite, reduce sex drive, and withdrawal from the environment — symptoms that are typical of depression.
If you think you suffer from seasonal depression, don’t ignore your signs and symptoms. The sooner you tell your doctor about what you’re experiencing, the sooner you’ll be on track to finding a treatment that will help you beat your seasonal blues.
While TMS is not usually used to treat seasonal depression, if your symptoms persist despite trying light therapy and other treatments, contact TMS Neuro Institute to find out if TMS therapy is right for you.