Understanding Spring Asthenia: Navigating Seasonal Changes in Mood and Energy

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As the days grow longer and warmer, many anticipate the arrival of spring with a sense of joy and vitality. However, for some individuals, the transition to a new season may bring unexpected challenges in the form of low energy and mood disturbances. Known as spring asthenia or springtime lethargy, this phenomenon is not medically recognized as a diagnosable condition but is familiar to many who experience it.

Concept of Spring Asthenia

While the concept of spring asthenia lacks formal medical recognition, its effects are widely acknowledged among individuals who find themselves grappling with a dip in energy and mood as the seasons change.

Although these changes are typically temporary and manageable, it’s essential to recognize when they may be indicative of a more serious condition, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression, typically associated with the darker winter months, can also manifest in the spring and summer seasons.

Dr. Ashwin Sharma, a clinical content lead and medical doctor at online pharmacy MedExpress, explains that while the exact causes of spring-onset SAD are not fully understood, theories suggest that factors such as lengthening days, increased light exposure, disruptions in circadian rhythms, melatonin production, allergies, or sudden temperature changes could play a role in triggering depressive symptoms during this time.

Symptoms of SAD, as outlined by the NHS, include persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities, irritability, feelings of despair, lethargy, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, difficulty concentrating, decreased sex drive, and physical symptoms like headaches.

Dr. Sharma emphasizes that symptoms of depression associated with spring asthenia or SAD are similar to those experienced at any time of year, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, fatigue, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and physical symptoms.

Management of spring asthenia or SAD involves a multifaceted approach, including self-care practices and seeking professional support. For those experiencing a temporary dip in energy, self-care strategies such as getting adequate rest and incorporating physical activity may be beneficial. However, for individuals experiencing symptoms indicative of summer depression, seeking professional support is crucial.

Treatment for SAD may involve a combination of therapies, including medication such as antidepressants, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management techniques, and establishing good sleep hygiene.

Dr. Sharma underscores the importance of consulting with a qualified healthcare provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, to receive a proper diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment options tailored to individual needs.

With proper care and management strategies, the severity and duration of SAD symptoms can be significantly reduced, enabling individuals to better navigate seasonal transitions and maintain their mental well-being.

In conclusion, while spring asthenia may be a familiar experience for many, it’s crucial to differentiate between temporary fluctuations in mood and energy and symptoms indicative of a more serious condition like SAD. Seeking professional support and implementing appropriate management strategies can help individuals effectively cope with seasonal changes in mood and energy levels.


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