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SAD In The Summer

July 30, 2012, 6:11 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

SAD In The Summer

If you've been feeling gloomy or irritable lately, blame the weather.

You've likely heard about seasonal affective disorder during the winter, but did you know you can also suffer from SAD during the summer?

Debbie Hansen enjoys walking their two dogs Rosie and Riley in the summer.

"Yes, I'm an exercise fanatic," Hansen said

But what she hasn't enjoyed is our recent heat wave.

"I've been getting up usually at six and walking," Hansen said.

And Hansen isn't the only one in her Sioux Falls neighborhood waking up early to get in a workout.

"I have a treadmill at home, so when it was just the worst, then I would do that," Cathy Bielen said.

Both Bielen and Hansen say exercising helps them beat the blues.

Doctor Rajesh Singh also says it can help prevent seasonal affective disorder.

"Normally seasonal affective disorder is seen more in the winters, but there is a subset of SAD that you can see in the summer months," Singh said.

With temperatures often reaching the 90s and triple digits lately, Singh says more may be suffering.

"Because when it gets very hot, people are less likely to go outside and exercise, so it kind of mimics what we do in the winters when we are more inbound and not as active," Singh said.

But how do you know if you're just feeling gloomy or if you're truly depressed? Dr. Singh says that depends on how much it's impacting your life.

"It has to cause social or occupational impairment, so if it starts affecting their work, their relationships, and their day-to-day activities, then it would be something they would need some professional help with," Singh said.

In addition to working out, doing outdoor activities early or late in the day when it's cooler out can help, along with staying well hydrated and sleeping well, which Hansen says can be a struggle.

"This summer there's definitely a lot of air conditioning and high electric bills, and I've noticed a lot of people are really grumpy," Hansen said.

Other signs of SAD include being more irritable and sensitive to other's criticisms.

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