Spring time is in the air, woohoo! Finally! With the cold weather behind us and the polar vortex no longer a significant threat, it is time to peel off the long winter coat and open the window blinds in your office to let the sun in [given there are windows in your office]. With the spring comes many perks, such as viewing the beautiful landscape of the soft Kentucky bluegrass, the green leaves hanging on the oak trees, colorful flowers, and the fresh smell of daffodils.
Sounds fantastic, right!
Well, not so fast.
In her article, When Spring Brings You Down, Andrews (2012) writes about two issues that are not so welcoming with the change of season. She mentions “seasonal allergies and reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD).” Seasonal allergy sufferers are vulnerable to inflammation and infection. As a result, Andrews states that the molecule, cytokines, forms clusters around the infected area (Mandal, n.d.), which has been linked to depression and in severe cases, suicide. An additional reading source by David Dobbs, entitled, Clues in the Cycle of Suicide, provides more information about suicide rates during the spring and into the summer months.
Interestingly, Andrews further talks about SAD and the possibility that it is not specific to the winter months, but to the summer as well. As the DSM-5 begins to take center stage, SAD will no longer be a separate diagnosis. Rather, SAD will take the form of several specifiers for major depressive disorder, recurrent and bipolar I and II disorders (DSM-5; pgs153-154; 187-188).
Yes, you may have already noticed that specifiers rule in DSM-5.
In the end, however, the spring air, filled with its freshness and good spirits, may not be a time of optimism for some individuals.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5).
Andrews, L. (2012). When spring brings you down. Retrieved from
Dobbs, D. (2013). Clues in the cycle of suicide. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/clues-in-the-cycle-of-suicide/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.
Mandal, A. (n.d.). What are cytokines? Retrieved from http://www.news- medical.net/health/What-are-Cytokines.aspx.
David Wright, MA, MSW
WKPIC Doctoral Intern