a tear running down someone's face

Why seasonal depression can happen in the summer too

Summer seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has been on doctors’ radars for decades. But many are unaware of the condition, and it can be harder to shake than the winter blues.

While winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by shorter days and growing darkness, the summer version is sparked by myriad environmental factors such as high temperatures, humidity, and even high pollen counts.

Photograph by Li Hui

Last summer, Cristina Flores planned to spend two weeks on a road trip through the Midwest, weaving her car along Ohio’s shoreline into the plains of Iowa and beyond. Each state she’d visit would bring her ever closer to the goal of seeing all 50 in the country. But the day before she was set to embark, Flores abruptly canceled the trip, forfeiting the deposits for all her booked Airbnbs. She was too depressed to leave the house.

This wasn’t new, but rather the latest—and worst that she recalls—in a seasonal pattern of depression that hangs around but is manageable throughout the year, then rears up in the summer. Flores, now 43 and a high school teacher in southern Virginia, says

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