Seasonal Affective Disorder

The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives. We hope you can use their post to start a conversation with your adolescent.

Well it is winter. The days are shorter, it gets dark earlier and its going to get very very cold. With this change in the seasons, sometimes we can notice a change in ourselves. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to the change in seasons.

The symptoms can start around the Fall months and last until Spring. The signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD are typical depression symptoms: fatigue, loss of interest, difficulty concentrating, sleeping problems, changes in appetite/weight and feelings of guilt/hopelessness/worry. These symptoms may persist almost everyday for most of the day and can be very debilitating.

The cause of SAD can be due to the change in circadian rhythm, serotonin levels and melatonin levels. These all have to do with the lack of sunlight we experience in the winter months. One of the most effective treatments that can be used for Seasonal Affective Disorders is light therapy. You are exposed to a special light box that can mimic sunlight. This light can help with the chemicals in the brain linked to mood and can help with symptoms.

I have fought with SAD for the past couple years and it can be looming and unpredictable, even when you know it is going to happen. I have used some other coping techniques like exercise, spending time with family/friends and trying to find new winter activities to enjoy. They help me pass the time and keep me occupied during the cold months.

If you feel like you have SAD or any depressive symptoms that are affecting you life, please talk to a doctor and remember you are not alone!

Do you notice your child’s mood changing during specific parts of the year? Does their mood decrease in winter? How would you respond if you asked your child what was bothering them and they aren’t able to respond during these times?

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