Spring Depression - When You Have Reverse SAD

When you think about seasonal affective disorder, you may feel it only occurs during the fall and winter due to the lack of sunlight. While the spring and summer seasons can cure this problem for some people, it can also ignite a problem for others. Reverse seasonal affective disorder can also begin in the spring and last through the warmer months. If you suffer from this type of spring depression, you know about its realities all too well. As we look at what causes this type of depression, we’ll also provide coping strategies to help if it impacts you.

What Causes Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Statistics show that approximately 1% of all Americans suffer from Reverse SAD[1] While the exact cause of what brings this on is unknown, doctors have some thoughts.

Lack of Sleep

It’s believed that sunlight can disrupt your circadian rhythms and throw off your sleep-wake cycle. This can make it harder to get enough sleep to feel well.[2] The sudden uptick in sunlight also tells the body to produce less melatonin, the chemical that helps us fall asleep, so we may get less sleep than we’re used to. When people have changes in their sleep patterns, it can make them feel tired and depressed.

Temperature Change

For others who may not do well in the heat, the warmer days may make them uncomfortable, especially when the sun lasts longer. All of the extreme brightness and heat can make you feel unmotivated and depressed.

Shifts in Brain Chemicals

If your body experiences too much serotonin due to the increased exposure to sunlight, it can lead to mental health issues.[3]

Pollen Sensitivity

While it may not be the leading cause, research has shown that seasonal allergies and pollen sensitivity can contribute to mood changes and depression.[4] The study found a link between high pollen and poor mood among those with symptoms of spring depression.

Other contributing factors to reverse SAD can include body image issues that may come up due to wearing clothing for the warmer months, as well as the pressure of social engagements, seeing that people seem to be more active in the spring and summer. Either of these can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.

Symptoms of Reverse SAD

The symptoms of Reverse SAD are similar to those of seasonal affective disorder. They include:

  • Energy Shifts
  • Feeling Less Motivated
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Weight Loss
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of Anger or Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Anxiety

If you or someone you know are experiencing these types of symptoms, it’s best to see a healthcare provider who can properly diagnose this type of depression or another mental health issue.

Who is Most At Risk for Developing Reverse SAD?

  • People who live farther from the equator may be more prone to developing Reverse SAD. This is because the daylight hours during the summer are much longer.
  • Younger adults are more likely to experience Reverse SAD, with its likelihood decreasing with age. Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with SAD more often than men.
  • Anyone with a family or personal history of depression or bipolar disorder is also more likely to experience SAD.

While these factors can put someone more at risk for developing Reverse SAD, it really can impact anyone. Being educated about the condition and its symptoms can help to recognize a problem, develop coping strategies, and seek treatment.

How to Cope with Reverse SAD

If you are suffering from Reverse SAD, there are things you can do to help cope with the condition.


Regular exercise can help relieve stress and depression. It releases feel-good endorphins that give you energy and promote an overall sense of well-being. If the heat bothers you, try working out in an air-conditioned space or wait until the sun sets to get moving.

Get Enough Sleep

As we mentioned above, not getting enough sleep can contribute to feelings of depression. You can improve your mood by making sure you get enough sleep. Also, sticking to a sleep routine, like going to bed around the same time every night, can help.

Eat Healthy Food

Good nutritional habits can also help you cope with Reverse SAD. When you are eating right, you can feel better about yourself, which can prevent depression. Eating foods rich in Vitamins C, D, and B can help your brain function well.[5]

You can find these vitamins in foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Shrimp
  • Eggs
  • Cereal
  • Red Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs

Eating a well-balanced diet can not only help to prevent depression but can also prevent diabetes and other conditions like diabetes.

Creative Therapies

Meditation, journaling, and art therapy can all help people deal with their emotions and channel them into something positive. Identifying your feelings and expressing them can prevent you from keeping things bottled up inside, which can lead to sadness and depression.

Reaching Out for Professional Support

While coping strategies can help you deal with specific spring depression symptoms, there may come a time when you need professional help.[2] Here are some warning signs:

  • Feelings of depression last longer than two weeks
  • You’re thinking of hurting yourself
  • Symptoms worsen
  • Symptoms affect daily life and relationships

Knowing there is professional support available can provide the necessary comfort to face these feelings and get the help you need.

Seeking Help for Spring Depression and Other Mental Health Conditions at Healing Foundations Center

If you are suffering from spring depression or other mental health conditions, Healing Foundations Center can help. As a depression treatment center in Scottsdale, AZ, we provide many different therapy models to help patients deal with their depression. Individual, group, and family therapy can all help patients deal with and cope with their depression. We also provide intensive outpatient therapy and ongoing support.

Contact Healing Foundations Center today to learn more about how our team can help you deal with the depression you are feeling.



[1] https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-blog/2018/august/the-summertime-blues

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/spring-depression#causes

[3] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2319711

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6800045/

[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/healthy-eating#foods-to-eat