DES MOINES, Iowa -- With hot temperatures in the summer, it doesn't take long to be thrown into a losing battle with the heat.
“Oh well, yeah. My hair is wet. I’m hot,” said one Grey’s Lake beach-goer.
It’s oppressive, overwhelming and downright awful. This scorching heat is assaulting more than just people's physical well-being, though--it also takes a toll on your psyche.
“I think for some people it interrupts their overall well-being,” said Tim Lewis.
Tim hit it right on the head--not everyone enjoys the summertime weather.
“Oh yeah, people get really down and depressed when it gets so hot. You just can’t get out to do anything,” said Dr. Donner Dewdney.
Dr. Dewdney is talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder. The disorder is most commonly associated with winter, but it’s estimated that 20 million Americans will struggle with the summer version of it.
“You just lose interest in doing things. You just don’t want to anything, you don’t want to get up, you don’t want to go into your job, you don’t want to go to school if you’re a kid. You lose motivation,” said Dr. Dewdney.
There are a variety of reasons this can happen. For many people, the problem starts with body image concerns. Spending time outside at places like the beach makes it easy to become overly concerned with how you look, which can lead to the blues. Another big cause is money. Vacations are expensive, and wallet concerns are one of the leading factors to depression at any time of year. But the biggest reason for falling victim to summertime blues is because people are creatures of habit and the elongated days throws us off typical schedules. So the key to avoiding it is sticking to your normal routine.
“One of the things that keeps us going every day is our schedule. What do I have to do right now, so that’s an automatic anti-depressant. It’s important you have obligations,” said Dr. Dewdney.
Dr. Dewdney also said anyone concerned about being depressed is encouraged to reach out for help. If it does not feel severe, though, he said there may be a quick fix that can help.
“I think we all have little antidepressants rituals, which may be little things like going out and buying something that is not too expensive, that will make me feel better, or whatever it might be,” said Dr. Dewdney.