What Is Spring Depression? (2024)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is classified as recurrent major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern specifier. It is a type of recurring depression that gets worse during a certain time of the year. While SAD typically occurs in the dark winter months, about 10% of people with SAD experience seasonal depression in the spring.

Read on to learn how SAD manifests differently in the spring than in the winter.

What Is Spring Depression? (1)

What Is Spring Depression?

Spring depression is a form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that occurs in the spring and/or summer, instead of the more common form of SAD, which occurs in the fall and winter months.

Symptoms of Spring Depression

Symptoms of spring SAD tend to be different than those of winter SAD.

Typical spring and/or summer SAD symptoms include:

  • Sadness or low mood
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or restless
  • Reduced appetite, often leading to weight loss
  • Sleep difficulties, such as insomnia
  • Episodes of violent behavior

The severity of symptoms varies but can become severe enough to cause significant distress and suicidal thoughts, or interfere with daily functioning.

Symptoms appear in the spring or early summer, and they ease in the fall or winter.

Help Is Available

If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, dial988to contact the988 Suicide & Crisis Lifelineand connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see ourNational Helpline Database.

What Causes Spring Depression?

The exact cause of spring depression is unknown, but researchers have identified some possible contributing factors. These include:

  • Heat and humidity
  • Longer days
  • Disruption to routine
  • Change in sleep patterns due to more sunlight, heat, and other spring and summer discomforts
  • Seeing others having fun (such as in vacation photos) and feeling left out or feeling pressure to feel better
  • Avoidance of summer activities due to health or appearance concerns
  • Seasonal allergies (associated with increased symptoms of depression and mood disorders, possibly due to inflammation)
  • Genetics or heredity


For some, depression symptoms appear or get worse in the spring. While it isn't known exactly why, researchers believe factors such as seasonal allergies, longer daylight hours, heat, and a disruption in sleep patterns due to seasonal changes could be contributing factors.

How Is Spring Depression Diagnosed?

SAD is distinct from depression without a seasonal specifier because of its pattern of symptoms. Symptoms must be present or worsen during a specific time of year (such as spring to fall). These symptoms typically last about four to five consecutive months of the year.

While not everyone with SAD experiences symptoms every year, for a diagnosis of SAD, this pattern of symptoms must occur for at least two consecutive years.

Episodes during this time of year must occur much more frequently than depressive episodes the person may experience or have experienced during other times of the year.

The diagnostic process typically begins with a primary healthcare provider, who may:

  • Ask about your symptoms, sleep patterns, lifestyle, medical and family history, mood, and any other relevant information
  • Perform a physical exam and/or order tests to look for a physical reason for your symptoms
  • Refer you to a mental health professional

For some people, the depression persists past the season, which may lead to a diagnosis change to major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder.

What Are the Risk Factors for Spring Depression?

Researchers have identified some potential risk factors for SAD, including:

  • Age: SAD typically starts between ages 18 and 30.
  • Sex: SAD is more common in women than men.
  • Family history: About 15% of people with SAD have an immediate family member who also has or has had the condition. 25%–67% of people with SAD have relatives with other mood or psychological disorders, such as major depressive disorder orschizophrenia.
  • Other mental health conditions: SAD affects 10%–20% of people with major depressive disorder, and approximately 25% of people with bipolar disorder. People with SAD often have other mental health disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an eating disorder, an anxiety disorder, or panic disorder.

How Is Spring Depression Treated?

Treatment for spring depression may include:

  • Medication: SAD can be treated with a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT): This type of therapy helps identify and improve unhealthy thought patterns, manage symptoms, and deal with stress in healthier ways.
  • Light therapy: This therapy, also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy, involves spending time in front of a light box that mimics sunlight for 20-60 minutes a day. Since ultraviolet (UV) rays from some light boxes can be harmful, look for a light box with a built-in UV filter.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you are experiencing symptoms of any form of depression, see your healthcare provider or a mental health professional. While a SAD diagnosis requires symptoms to occur for two affected seasonal periods in a row, you don't need to wait two years to seek help for your symptoms.


Spring depression is a form of seasonal affective disorder, in which depression symptoms occur or worsen in the spring and/or summer. The exact cause isn't known, but it's believed to be related to factors such as increased daylight, allergies, heat, and circadian rhythm changes. Spring depression may improve with medication, talk therapy, light therapy, or sleep routine changes.

A Word From Verywell

If you notice depression symptoms more in the spring and summer than at other times of the year, you may be experiencing spring depression. See your healthcare provider or contact a mental health professional if you are showing signs of any type of depression, even if it's seasonal. Treatment is available, so you don't have to suffer needlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you know if you have depression?

    While it's helpful to know symptoms of depression to see if they are affecting you, it's important to see a healthcare provider or mental health professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and determine a treatment plan.

    Learn More:Do I Have Depression?

  • Is depression more common in the spring?

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is much more common in the winter months, but spring depression is very real. For some people, depression symptoms become worse in the spring and summer and improve in the fall and winter.

  • Can anxiety also get worse in the spring?

    Anxiety is a possible symptom of spring/summer SAD. People with spring SAD may find they feel more anxious during the spring and summer months.

    Learn More:Symptoms of Anxiety

10 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Psychiatric Association.Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edition. American Psychiatric Association; 2013. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

  2. MedlinePlus. Seasonal affective disorder.

  3. National Institute of Mental Health. Seasonal affective disorder.

  4. Centre For Addiction and Mental Health. You’ve heard of the winter blues but what about summer depression?.

  5. Melrose S. Seasonal affective disorder: an overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Depression Research and Treatment. 2015;2015:1-6. doi:10.1155/2015/178564

  6. Lõhmus M. Possible biological mechanisms linking mental health and heat—a contemplative review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(7):1515. doi:10.3390/ijerph15071515

  7. Manalai P, Hamilton RG, Langenberg P, et al. Pollen-specific immunoglobulin E positivity is associated with worsening of depression scores in bipolar disorder patients during high pollen season. Bipolar Disord. 2012;14(1):90-98. doi:10.1111/j.1399-5618.2012.00983.x

  8. Woo JM, Okusaga O, Postolache TT. Seasonality of suicidal behavior. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012;9(2):531-547. doi:10.3390/ijerph9020531

  9. National Health Service. Diagnosis - seasonal affective disorder.

  10. American Psychiatric Association. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What Is Spring Depression? (2)

By Heather Jones
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability,and feminism.

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What Is Spring Depression? (2024)


Why do people get depressed in the springtime? ›

Spring depression is a form of seasonal affective disorder, in which depression symptoms occur or worsen in the spring and/or summer. The exact cause isn't known, but it's believed to be related to factors such as increased daylight, allergies, heat, and circadian rhythm changes.

How long does spring depression last? ›

Depression in Spring

This peak lasts from the beginning of April to the end of May. But why do so many people take their own lives during this time period?

Is seasonal depression really a thing? ›

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.

Why does my mental health decline in spring? ›

One of the major reasons people may feel more depressed and anxious in the springtime is simply because of change. For some people, change feels like an exciting opportunity, while others may feel an intense instability in their lives.

What are the symptoms of spring anxiety? ›

For spring struggles, doctors recommend maintaining a journal to record mood, changes in appetite, sleep issues, problems with concentration, and physical wellbeing. Springtime blues or reverse SAD could also manifest as physical symptoms like insomnia or headaches.

Why do I feel weird in the spring? ›

Springtime lethargy is the state of fatigue, lowered energy, or depression associated with the onset of spring. Such a state may be caused by a normal reaction to warmer temperatures, or it may have a medical basis, such as allergies or reverse seasonal affective disorder.

Does vitamin D help with seasonal depression? ›

In mild cases of seasonal depression, vitamin D supplementation demonstrates improvements in daily mood, fatigue, and other symptoms.

What states have the most seasonal depression? ›

Seasonal depression in each state

Alaska, Vermont and New Hampshire are the states most affected by seasonal depression. Florida, Hawaii and Arizona are the states least affected by seasonal depression.

What season is depression the highest? ›

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's triggered by a change in seasons, usually when fall starts. This seasonal depression gets worse in the late fall or early winter before ending in the sunnier days of spring.

What is the saddest month? ›

It is often said that January – dubbed “the Monday of months” – is the most depressing month of the year.

Is seasonal depression a form of bipolar? ›

Seasonal affective disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by the changing of the seasons. This condition is a subtype of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

What vitamins should I take for seasonal depression? ›

Vitamin D, melatonin and St. John's Wort are recommended for seasonal depression. Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamin C may also help with depression. Vitamins are not a replacement for medical treatment but may improve its effectiveness.

What mental illness is in the spring? ›

But for some people, the changes that Springtime brings can cause increased feelings of anxiety and depression. While most people assume that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs only in the winter months, SAD can occur during a change in any season, including Spring.

Does mental illness get worse in spring? ›

But for some people, the term “spring fever” coincides with seasonal depression, spring anxiety, and other mental health issues. Although the winter months are typically linked to winter depression and hopelessness, research shows that depression symptoms and suicide rates peak during the late spring and early summer.

Is bipolar worse in spring? ›

Research shows that manic episodes and suicides heighten in the spring among people with bipolar disorder — a phenomenon known as 'spring mania.

What are 3 warning signs of anxiety? ›

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

What are 3 physical signs of anxiety? ›

Effects of anxiety on your body
  • a churning feeling in your stomach.
  • feeling light-headed or dizzy.
  • pins and needles.
  • feeling restless or unable to sit still.
  • headaches, backache or other aches and pains.
  • faster breathing.
  • a fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat.
  • sweating or hot flushes.

Why do I get depressed when the seasons change? ›

The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD . This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD .

How do you deal with spring anxiety? ›

If you're feeling anxiety or stress due to the changing weather, try going outside and soaking up some Vitamin D from the sunlight. Vitamin D boosts serotonin levels that have been depleted after the long winter months with weaker sunlight. Take a walk in the afternoon or find a spot outdoors to have lunch.

How long does spring fatigue last? ›

The body's rhythm changes and the increasing amount of sunlight causes hormonal changes in the body. Those who are affected experience this as symptoms of springtime lethargy. But here's the good news: this loss of form will only last a couple of weeks at most – and then you can finally switch to full speed ahead!

What is the meaning of spring blues? ›

For some, spring triggers depression and anxiety. It may seem rare, but experts note that this reverse format of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), referred to as the Spring Blues, is a grave concern.

What vitamin is a natural antidepressant? ›

Which supplements are commonly used for depression? Studies show that certain dietary supplements, including omega-3s, vitamin D, rhodiola, B12, and saffron, may be helpful for reducing depressive symptoms in some people.

What are the top 3 vitamins for depression? ›

Some of the best vitamins for depression include vitamin D, iron, B9 (folate), calcium, vitamin C, and vitamins B12 and B3. Keep reading to learn more about vitamins that help with depression so you can make informed decisions about how best to treat your symptoms of depression.

What state has the least depressed people? ›

Meanwhile, Hawaii (11.4%) is the least depressed state, followed by California (15.3%), Maryland (17.2%) and South Dakota (17.2%).

What state has the most mental illness? ›

Seven of the 10 best states for mental health care are in the East, including Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine and West Virginia. Montana tops the list of states with the highest prevalence of mental illness; New Jersey has the lowest rate of mental illness.

Is seasonal depression worse than regular depression? ›

Some people experience a feeling of just being "over" winter, which many call "winter blues," and this is especially prevalent among those who live in colder climates. But real depression — whether non-seasonal MDD or SAD — is often more severe and debilitating.

Who is depressed the most? ›

Women are more likely to have depression than men. An estimated 3.8% of the population experience depression, including 5% of adults (4% among men and 6% among women), and 5.7% of adults older than 60 years.

Who gets depression more often? ›

Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. Depression can occur at any age. Some mood changes and depressed feelings occur with normal hormonal changes. But hormonal changes alone don't cause depression.

What is the saddest day of the year 2023? ›

Monday 16th January has been cursed with the name Blue Monday and deemed the most depressing day of the year in 2023.

Which month is mental? ›

May is Mental Health Awareness Month | AHA.

What day of the week is the saddest? ›

Welcome to Blue Monday, dubbed the most depressing day of the year. But what's so miserable about it, and where did the concept come from? Here's everything you know about the supposedly gloomiest of days.

How do people with bipolar think? ›

“When bipolar disorder mood symptoms are severe, a person may experience psychosis, or delusional and paranoid thinking which is out of touch with reality,” says Dr. Dudley. Howard says that bipolar psychosis is frightening because what he thinks is happening isn't actually happening.

What time of year is bipolar worse? ›

In patients with bipolar disorder, admissions for manic and depressive episodes frequently follow a seasonal pattern with the peaks during either autumn or winter, or autumn and spring [3,4]. However, the lack of seasonal variation in admissions due to bipolar disorder has also been reported [5].

What is bipolar depression called now? ›

Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration. These shifts can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks.

How much B12 should I take for depression? ›

Vitamin B12 for Depression: Supplement Dosage

Very high daily doses of vitamin B12, ranging between 1000 and 2000 mcg, may effectively restore B12 levels within the body and positively impact depression symptoms.

How do you treat seasonal depression naturally? ›

Treating SAD with Natural Remedies
  1. Get a Light Box. If your outdoor hours are limited during the winter months, a light box might be a worthwhile investment. ...
  2. Keep Exercising. ...
  3. Add a Vitamin D Supplement. ...
  4. Get Outside. ...
  5. Talk It Out. ...
  6. Eat a Healthy Diet. ...
  7. Reach Out for Help.
Jan 17, 2023

Why is bipolar worse at night? ›

This disruption to the biological clock alters normal sleep-wake cycles and triggers evening confusion and distress. To date, no research specifically links sundowning to bipolar disorder. That said, plenty of evidence does link bipolar disorder to circadian rhythm dysfunction and related sleep disruptions.

What is the most known mental illness? ›

Depression. Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with? ›

Borderline personality disorder is one of the most painful mental illnesses since individuals struggling with this disorder are constantly trying to cope with volatile and overwhelming emotions.

What mental illness gets worse with age? ›

Personality disorders that are susceptible to worsening with age include paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, obsessive compulsive, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, and dependent, Dr.

Why do people experience mania in spring? ›

Why do mania and suicide occur most often in the spring? A possible mechanism underpinning these relationships is a misalignment between the endogenous and environmental circadian rhythms due to acute circadian rhythm shifting caused by the increased light exposure in the spring.

What are the worst months for bipolar? ›

In a 2021 review of 51 studies, researchers found a few patterns: Hospital admissions for bipolar depressive episodes peak in early winter. Hospitalizations for manic episodes are more common in spring and summer.

What is spring mania? ›

He describes springtime mania as often being a mixed state, “tired and wired and urgent and distressed and anxious.… You feel driven to do something but don't know what to do.” It can be difficult for individuals to realize what's going on, Aiken says. “Most patients … will identify the depression in the winter.

What condition is worse than bipolar? ›

Schizophrenia causes symptoms that are more severe than the symptoms of bipolar disorder. People with schizophrenia experience hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations involve seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling things that aren't there.

How does spring affect Mental Health? ›

Mental Health Can Decline at the Start of Spring

Changes in sunlight may also be responsible for disorders like spring-pattern SAD, but in a different way. This form of depression may instead be caused by too much sunlight, which reduces melatonin and increases serotonin.

What season has the most seasonal depression? ›

SAD is a type of depression that happens during a certain season of the year—most often fall and winter. There is no clear cause of SAD. Less sunlight and shorter days are thought to be linked to a chemical change in the brain and may be part of the cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What season is most common for seasonal depression? ›

In most cases, SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression.

Which season is the best for mental health? ›

Summer Months and Better Mental Health

People often report the best mental health in the summer months. This is due to a myriad of factors including longer days, increase vitamin D, and other factors. It is important to use the summer months to plan outdoor activities with your children.

Why do people get manic in the spring? ›

Why do mania and suicide occur most often in the spring? A possible mechanism underpinning these relationships is a misalignment between the endogenous and environmental circadian rhythms due to acute circadian rhythm shifting caused by the increased light exposure in the spring.

What emotion is spring associated with? ›

Year after year, Spring tends to awaken new excitement and optimism about what the future holds.

What states have the worst seasonal depression? ›

Seasonal depression in each state

Alaska, Vermont and New Hampshire are the states most affected by seasonal depression. Florida, Hawaii and Arizona are the states least affected by seasonal depression.

Who is more prone to seasonal depression? ›

Risk factors

And occurs more frequently in younger adults than in older adults. Factors that may increase your risk of seasonal affective disorder include: Family history. People with may be more likely to have blood relatives with or another form of depression.

What do you say to someone with seasonal depression? ›

  • Let them know you are there. Lots of people can find it hard to open up about how they're feeling. ...
  • Support them to seek help. ...
  • Don't be critical. ...
  • Be sensitive when talking about the weather. ...
  • Ask them what helps. ...
  • Help them to plan ahead. ...
  • Stay in touch. ...
  • Look after yourself.

Where do you move if you have seasonal depression? ›

If you're feeling the effects of S.A.D., you might want to spend a week in one of these three places.
  • Anchorage, Alaska. Anchorage in the winter is a dark proposition. ...
  • Seattle, Washington. ...
  • Portland, Oregon. ...
  • Spokane, Washington. ...
  • Missoula, Montana. ...
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan. ...
  • Buffalo, New York. ...
  • Syracuse, New York.
Dec 6, 2019

Is seasonal depression considered a mental illness? ›

Seasonal affective disorder* is a form of depression also known as SAD, seasonal depression or winter depression. In the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this disorder is identified as a type of depression – Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern.


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