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Do Teens Experience Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a form of depression that may occur when we shift from fall to winter. The symptoms of SAD include depressed mood, decreased interest, and enjoyment of favorite activities, severe fatigue, and diminished self-esteem. Although seasonal depression is more prevalent in adult women than teens, teens can also be faced with bouts of SAD. If you suspect your teen is suffering from SAD, it is time to seek help. Destinations for Teens provides teen seasonal depression treatment. Reach us at 877.466.0620 so that we can help your teen navigate seasonal depression effectively. 

Understanding Seasonal Depression

Teen seasonal depression occurs as a result of the brain’s reaction to reduced exposure to daylight. Reduced sunlight during winter may lead to a higher amount of melatonin and lower serotonin levels, creating biological conditions for SAD. The brain’s serotonin and melatonin production actively regulate mood, energy, and sleep patterns. Melatonin regulates sleep. If the body releases it in more massive amounts, you may feel lethargic and sleepy. Production of serotonin increases with more exposure to sunlight. As such, reduced serotonin is related to depression symptoms. Seasonal depression in teens can impact their day-to-day activities because of issues such as:

  • Lack of interest in social activities
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Reduced concentration and focus
  • Low energy levels
  • A tendency to oversleep and overeat

There may be changes in sleep habits, including insomnia, trouble falling asleep, difficulty sleeping restfully, or waking up unnecessarily early in the morning. Some people experience hypersomnia, causing them to sleep longer and later than necessary. 

Signs Your Teen May Need Mental Health Treatment 

It is not uncommon for family members or caregivers to misunderstand a teen’s moody disposition as misbehaving or just being isolated. However, we must pay attention to the signs of depression, whether teen seasonal depression or a yearlong challenge. Here are signs that your teen will benefit from depression treatment: 

  • Feeling hopeless 
  • Relying on drugs or alcohol to hide their pain 
  • Withdrawn, isolated behavior 
  • Loss of self-esteem 
  • Insomnia 
  • A change in eating habits 

Types of Depression Treatment for Teens With SAD 

If you are noticing signs of depression, it is critical that you seek treatment. Many different forms of depression treatment can support young adults so that they can learn the appropriate coping skills and manage their emotions effectively. Here are some options to explore: 

Light Therapy

Minimized light exposure triggers the symptoms of SAD. If your child has mild symptoms during the winter months, spending more time outdoors during the day is recommended. Your loved one may take a walk or perform physical exercise outside to increase sunlight exposure. A 2019 study conducted by Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice, it is best to use light therapy no later than 8 am for at least three weeks.  People with adverse symptoms may consider phototherapy. It involves a lightbox whereby participants sit at the front of the device to get light exposure. Doing this for a few days every morning can reduce the symptoms. However, you may need to use light therapy until the end of the colder months. Consult with a medical expert before using light therapy for depression treatment. Some people have underlying conditions, like skin sensitivity to light, so they may need a doctor’s guidance when doing phototherapy.

Talk Therapy

Psychotherapists can use talk therapy to treat seasonal depression. It focuses on the individual’s negative feelings and thoughts that cause SAD. It eases discomfort such as loneliness and isolation that are often associated with depression. A rehab program can guide and support a SAD individual to overcome the condition. Professionals can use talk therapy to help clients understand their conditions and learn vital techniques for handling stressful situations. Self-medication using substances like alcohol worsens the matter. It is best to seek treatment for seasonal depression in teens in a rehab facility. At rehab, your loved one can access various proven services, including:

  • Teenage anxiety treatment
  • Teen mental health treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Trauma treatment program
  • Educational program so that they will not miss school 
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Medication

Prescription Medication 

Antidepressants can be prescribed by a psychiatrist if other methods of regulating SAD continue to fall short of expectations. Prescription medication can balance the brain’s neurotransmitters for energy and mood regulation. Your primary care provider should prescribe and monitor drugs for SAD treatment.

Contact the Mental Health Treatment Experts at Destinations for Teens 

Do you suspect your teen has seasonal depression? If your answer is yes, you should never ignore the signs. Failure to seek immediate treatment can lead to long-term consequences in your teen’s life. Seasonal Depression is treatable at rehab using proven techniques. Please consult with our expert to evaluate the child’s condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan. Contact Destinations for Teens at 877.466.0620 to schedule an appointment with our therapist.