Seasonal Affective Disorder: Not Just Winter Woes

SAD also affects people who love the cold

It's hard not to get down in the dumps during the cold, bleak days of winter and, for some, the winter even brings a touch of depression. 

This temporary-depression is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While most people who have it are diagnosed during the winter months, some are adversely affected in the spring and summer. 

"Winter folks have collared most of the attention," said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical psychiatrist at Georgetown University. "I’m glad the folks that don’t like summer are finally getting their day in court."

The summer version of SAD is less well-known because it is not as common and is usually shorter-lived, Rosenthal said. For sufferers of warm-weather SAD, the heat, humidity and sunshine of summer are accompanied by depression.

Linda McGunigal said she suffers from warm-weather SAD. 

"The minute things start blooming... I hate it," she said. "I know I'm going to be depressed in the summer, and I am, mostly."

For McGunigal, winter is blissful. She decorates for fall on Sept. 1 and begins her holiday baking in early November. 

McGunigal said she hopes to move to a colder area permanently for retirement. 

"People want to retire, go to the Carolinas or Florida," she said. "My husband and I would go to Caribou, Maine, or Alaska." 

Medicines, therapy, meditation and box lights that boost vitamin D levels can be helpful for sufferers of SAD, Rosenthal said.

As for McGunigal, she is waiting for winter to kick into high gear. 

"I [will] be in my glory," she said.

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