As the leaves begin to change, and the air takes on a crispness that you may or may not have missed, one thing is for certain: winter is coming. Post Thanksgiving, if your teen daughter begins to feel sad or detached, it’s probably not because of the turkey. She may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that only appears at a certain time of the year. The most common form of seasonal affective disorder is the one that appears around winter time. It’s more than just the “winter blues”; it’s something that should be taken as seriously as depression normally is. Teens with seasonal affective disorder experience a shift in mood for at least two weeks out of the year. Your daughter may feel a sense of hopelessness and worthlessness, and may be overly self-critical.
Another symptom of seasonal affective disorder is excessive sleep. If, during the winter months, your daughter begins feeling extremely tired and sleeping for much longer than eight hours a day, that may be a sign she has seasonal affective disorder. Additionally, if your teen begins to become unfocused and suffer academically during the winter months, it may be a sign of seasonal affective disorder.
When seasonal affective disorder strikes, it may feel like your daughter is spiralling into a dark place. But there are a few ways you can bring her back into the light. These include:
- Light therapy: Light therapy can be used to treat stronger symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Treatment is thought to be more effective during the morning, and almost 80 percent of patients with SAD repeat a reduction in symptoms after light therapy.
- Get her outside: For some people with seasonal affective disorder, going outside can really help reduce symptoms. Just being out in the sun is important for people with SAD because seasonal affective disorder is thought to be caused by a decreased exposure to sunlight.
- Get her active: Just like other forms of depression, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can be reduced by exercise. Get your daughter active during the winter months, even if it’s super cold out.
- Help her develop a sleep routine: Getting eight hours of sleep is important to reduce symptoms. This may be hard for her, because she may feel overly tired all the time. However, this is an important step to treating her depression.
Solstice East can help
For more information about Solstice East, please call 828-484-9946.