PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to winter versus summer, which do you like better?
Most people love summer. But for some, summer signals the beginning of a long depression. It’s called summer seasonal affective disorder or summer sad.
It’s the opposite of winter sad that causes seasonal depression in the winter, but it can be just as debilitating.
Greg Flick, who suffers from “summer sad,” says summer just makes him miserable.
“Mostly I get sad and that’s pervasive,” Flick said. “I feel like everything is just rubbing me the wrong way.”
Not much is known about what causes the disorder. Researchers say some people just can’t stand the heat in summer, while others are sensitive to light or have disrupted sleep from longer days.
Dr. Victor Fornari, a local psychiatrist, said it usually goes undiagnosed.
“People don’t realize it’s something they should seek help about,” Fornari said. “They think, ‘Oh, I just don’t like the summer.’”
Making it worse, others just can’t believe anyone wouldn’t like summer.
“After hearing from so many people you’ve got to be nuts to hate the summer time, so often you begin to hear that and perhaps accept it as possibly real,” Fornari said.
Flick says he’s found support on the Internet, in posts by others with the disorder.
“Feeling really down in the dumps. So ready for winter,” wrote one person. Another said, “As the days get longer, my mood sinks and I feel horrible.”
“Summertime is supposed to be you know, the living is easy,” Flick said.
According to Dr. Jeptha Tausig, for many people, just being diagnosed is a relief.
“It’s not that it’s all in their head, it’s not that they’re somehow weird, it has to do with the fact that that there’s an actual real syndrome going on here and it’s something we can intervene with,” Tausig explained.
Strategies that help include staying out of the sun during peak hours, taking melatonin to improve sleep and not feeling guilty by not taking part in summer fun.
“I can’t promise that it’s’ going to be the most delightful summer ever,” Tausig said. “But, they certainly can have a better time.”