The chill of winter is in the air. Christmas music is playing on the radio. Stores are putting out their decorations and announcing their sales. It is officially the holidays but not everyone is feeling the cheer.
Seasonal depression is a real condition. Impacting up to 20% of people in the US to different degrees, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can create a lot of tension and trouble through the colder months.
What Exactly Is SAD?
SAD is more than just feeling a little down when winter comes. It is a full blown mood disorder than leads to mood swings and serious depression between fall and spring. For some it is more mild and is what is referred to as “winter blues”. But for 6% of Americans, it is a life altering problem that can have just as much of an impact as other mood disorders and chronic depression.
Do Teenagers Get SAD?
SAD can hit anyone, of any age. Teenagers are just as prone as adults and may not understand why they are feeling the way they do. You also may have noticed a sudden shift in their behavior as winter comes, making you suspect that they have this unique condition. For trouble teens who have already expressed behavioral issues in the past, it can get especially severe during this time of year.
What Do I Do If I Suspect My Teen Has SAD?
The best thing you can do is first talk to your teen. Discuss how the winter months can cause depression, anxiety and mood swings for many people. Assure them that it is likely temporary and urge them to be open with you about how they are feeling and how severe those emotions are.
Once you have ascertained whether they are suffering from SAD or just winter blues, you can decide whether a doctor visit is appropriate. For some teens it may be necessary to get treatment, such as through light therapy or even medication.
How Might SAD Impact My Family?
Because anyone can be hit by SAD, several members of your family could experience symptoms. This could change the mood of your home, lessen enjoyment around the holidays and just hurt everybody in the household, whether they have this condition or not.
It is critical to be open and supportive of one another. Try to do things as a family. Talk out your feelings. Create opportunities to have fun together.
Find out more about this and other topics at Sundance Canyon Academy.