Seasonal Depression Isn’t Solely Based on Winter and Rainy Weather: How Springtime Can Cause Depression

You’ve probably heard people talk about seasonal depression, especially during the Winter months. After all, when it’s cold outside and darkness sets in before most of us are leaving work for the day, it’s understandable why some people may feel a little down. While we probably think of seasonal depression as being unique to Winter, the truth is that it can happen at any time of year, even during the Spring and Summer, when the weather becomes warmer and sunnier. So, what is the link between Spring and depression? Learn some answers below, as well as information about treatment for seasonal depression. 

What is seasonal depression?

Seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a specific form of depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the professional book utilized to classify mental health conditions, classifies seasonal affective disorder as “Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern.”

People with seasonal depression experience mood changes, characterized by depression symptoms. Most often, these mood changes begin in the Fall or Winter, when daylight hours are shorter, and people have less exposure to natural sunlight. However, seasonal depression can also set in during the Spring or Summer. 

Although less common than seasonal depression beginning in the Fall or Winter, Spring/Summer onset seasonal depression is associated with the increase in temperature during this time of year. 

People who experience seasonal depression during the Winter tend to demonstrate symptoms including increased appetite, weight gain, and excessive sleep, whereas seasonal depression with an onset during the Spring or Summer is typically associated with agitation, irritability, insomnia, and decrease in appetite. 

Aside from these symptoms unique to seasonal depression, episodes of depression involve the following general symptoms:


  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment with usual activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in movement patterns, which can be characterized by slowed movements, or an increase in purposeless movements like pacing 
  • Difficulty with concentration or decision-making
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt 
  • Thinking about death or suicide 

Seasonal Depression Statistics

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about 5% of U.S. adults experience symptoms of seasonal depression, and symptoms are usually present for about 40% of the year. Women are more likely to be affected than men. 

A longitudinal study interested in the prevalence of seasonal depression found the following to be true:

  • Over the long-term, 3.44% of the population experienced repeated episodes of Winter depression, with women being 5 times more likely than men to show this pattern of depression.
  • 9.96% of people experienced a single episode of Winter depression during the course of the study, which lasted over 20 years.
  • 7.52% of study participants demonstrated Fall/Winter seasonality for depression symptoms. 
  • In this study, repeated episodes of Spring/Summer depression were uncommon.

While Spring seasonal depression is uncommon, that does not mean this form of seasonal depression should be ignored. In fact, suicidal behavior during Spring/Summer depression seems to be more likely when compared to during the Winter months. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates begin to increase in April, reaching their peak in July, and the declining steadily until December. 

CDC data showed the following suicide numbers across various months in 2020:

  • February: 3,655 deaths
  • May: 3,758 deaths
  • June: 3,969 deaths
  • July: 4,159 deaths
  • August: 4,027 deaths
  • November: 3,699
  • December: 3,509 


Despite the common belief that people are more depressed and therefore more likely to complete suicide during the Winter holidays, it appears that suicide rates are actually relatively low during the dead of winter. Rates increase slightly in the Spring before reaching a peak in the Summer and returning to baseline around the end of the year. 

Causes of Spring and Summer Depression

So, what causes some people to experience depression when temperatures become warmer? Beyond the strong correlation between depression and higher temperatures, the following factors may increase the risk of depression during the Spring and Summer months:

Regardless of the specific causes, if you experience an uptick in depression symptoms when Spring hits, you are not alone. Some people can experience chemical imbalances and mood changes in response to the warmer temperatures, rather than feeling joyful about the increase in sunshine. 

Treating Seasonal Depression 

While light therapy is commonly used to treat seasonal depression occurring during the Winter months, this treatment isn’t useful for Spring and Summer seasonal depression, when there is plenty of opportunity to get exposure to sunlight. Instead, seasonal depression during the warm months is usually treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy.

Antidepressant medications called SSRIs are often used to treat seasonal depression, but there are other medication classes available for those who do not respond well to SSRIs. Seasonal depression can also be treated with a specific form of therapy called CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), which can help people to correct negative or distorted thinking patterns.

If symptoms of seasonal depression are interfering with daily life, reaching out for treatment can help. Professional intervention can make depression symptoms more manageable and reduce your risk of serious complications, including suicidal behavior. 

If you’re experiencing depression symptoms, and you haven’t found relief with medication and/or therapy, you may be a candidate for TMS. This is a non-invasive treatment modality that uses a device placed over the forehead to stimulate areas of the brain associated with  mood. Pulse TMS offers this service in the Los Angeles community. Contact us today to determine if you’re a candidate for TMS.

Article By: admin-pulsetms