Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a condition that occurs during the colder months. It affects many adolescents in the US every year. The most common symptoms of the disorder include unexplained tiredness and anxiety.
Unfortunately, caregivers may misunderstand a teen’s behavior. It pays to gain essential skills to assist your child if you notice the signs of depressive disorders. Destinations for Teens can help parents and teachers guide their adolescents during a challenging period.
Understanding Seasonal Depression
SAD may occur due to the brain’s reaction to reduced exposure to daylight. The cause points to the brain’s serotonin and melatonin production, the chemicals regulating mood, energy, and sleep patterns. Reduced sunlight during winter may lead to a higher amount of melatonin and lower levels of serotonin, creating biological conditions for SAD.
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
Diagnosis and Treatment
Mental health and medical experts evaluate their clients before diagnosis. A medical checkup is vital because some health conditions may lead to similar symptoms. For example, mononucleosis, hypoglycemia, and hypothyroidism can cause low energy, fatigue, and appetite changes. After SAD diagnosis, a medical expert can recommend different treatment methods.
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.
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 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 using phototherapy.
Psychotherapists can use talk therapy to treat seasonal depression. It focuses on the individual’s negative feelings and thoughts that cause SAD. It eases the uncomfortable feelings, such as loneliness and isolation, 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 in CA
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
Prescription medication, such as antidepressants, can balance the brain’s neurotransmitters for energy and mood regulation. Your primary care provider should prescribe and monitor drugs for SAD treatment.
Ensure you inform your care provider of any ongoing medication because it can interact with the prescription.
Contact the Experts at Destinations for Teens
Do you suspect your teen has seasonal depression? Failure to seek immediate treatment can impact your loved one’s life, sometimes causing long-term consequences. 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.