Mental Health Disorders that Peak during Spring

It is not uncommon for some mental health disorders to peak during certain times of the year. Many think that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a disorder that normally occurs at the end of autumn and throughout winter due to the lack of sunlight. It may be surprising to learn that SAD can also present itself during the spring time. There are a few mental health disorders that are more prominent during the spring season.

Spring and Mental Health

When you think of spring, many envision flowers blooming and the sweet sound of birds chirping. During spring the sun’s rays warm our skin while we take in the smell of fresh-cut grass. The extra hours of sunlight and the ability to spend more time outside can do wonders for our souls and improve our moods. But for some people, spring warrants a vulnerable time for their mental health. The change in season can cause a decline in ones mental health and mood

Mental Health Disorders That Peak During Spring

Researchers have found that suicide and certain mood disorders such as mania and seasonal affective disorder seem to peak during the spring months. The causes why people seem more vulnerable to these mental illnesses during the spring remain largely unknown.


Mania is a component of the mood disorder, bipolar. Mania is classified as a change in mood and behaviour, lasting at least a week, and can result in a significant dysfunction in a person’s life. Characteristics of mania can include:
• Fast speech
• Decreased need for sleep
• An increase in talkativeness
• Becoming easily distracted
• Becoming easily irritated
• An increase in goal-directed behaviour
• Impulsivity
• Feeling as if you are capable of unrealistic things or better than others

Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is a mental health disorder caused by the seasonal change. Most people think that SAD generally occurs during fall and winter, but some occur during the spring and summer months. Symptoms of SAD are similar to major depression, however, the symptoms only occur during certain times of the year. Common symptoms include:
• Loss of energy
• Lack of enjoyment in things that you normally enjoy
• Low self-esteem
• Feeling down or depressed
• Weight gain due to the craving of carbs

Why Do These Mental Health Disorders Occur During Spring?

It is still quite unclear why these mental health disorders result from the changes in season from winter to spring. There are many theories but much is still unknown. One theory suggests that during spring, increased sunlight can impact a person’s circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm represents our physical, mental and biological response in a 24-hour period that is responsible for hormone production and our sleep cycle. The theory is that the change in our circadian rhythm may impact our mood and mental health.

Another theory is that spring elicits high levels of allergens, including pollen. Studies are beginning to show the connection between the higher levels of allergens and increased health symptoms such as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

What You Can Do

• Find Routine: Try to find at least one consistent activity for your week to look forward to. This could be Monday evening walks with your dog, A Friday lunch with friends, or a few dedicated hours to self-care each Sunday.
• Focus on Sleep: This is easier said than done, but it is important. Try setting two alarms, one that tells you to go to bed and one that tells you to wake up. Try to keep it consistent throughout the week.
• Ask for Help: If you know spring is a difficult time for you, reach out to friends or family. Or talk to Laurian Ward for help to process your feelings.