Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teenagers

The lives and well-being of our teenagers matter, whether if we think we know what we’re doing as their parents or guardians or not.

As they voyage out of childhood and prepare themselves for adulthood, this is more of a vital time to pay attention and guide them through processing emotions and being there when they need us most.

Six out of every 100 teenagers suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder every year. Due to the 2019 global pandemic, there’s an increase in seasonal affective disorder, teenage depression, and we do not know how to cater to them without a sense of smothering.

Is it normal to feel this way while our teenagers go through this? Honestly, yes, it is normal to feel confused, frustrated, and determined to help your beloved teenager shake loose from the grips of SAD.

Throughout this article we will discuss various causes and how it plays an important role in their lives. Even if your teenager isn’t a teenager anymore, depression doesn’t discriminate against anyone going through it.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a subtle form of depression that’s associated with Major Depressive Disorder.

People, especially teenagers, that experience SAD battles extreme mood changes as the weather change. For instance, during the fall and winter season is when a teenager’s depression increase verses the spring and/or summer time.

This is caused by numerous factors, like location, time, and their surroundings.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder and How does Seasonal Affective Disorder Work in Teenagers?

The seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that only comes during the colder months of the year. It is a condition that specifically occurs during late fall and winter because it is influenced by the amount of light the earth provides.

The depression is activated by the body’s response to the change in sunlight exposure. In the winter time, you experience less sunlight and shorter days than in warmer months like spring, and because of this, some teenagers are exposed to depression specifically around this time of year.

The way it works is that a teenager is living a pretty normal life; they are doing well in school, hanging out with friends and being happy in general. But, as the year reaches an end with winter approaching, you may see a decrease in the things they are interested in and a change in grades.

They become more tired and lethargic and stop socializing with their friends. Most time the parents may think they are slacking and get disappointed in them, but then they notice that as the winter month passes by, their attitude and mood changes and they start doing well again.

This is an example of this condition: you only get symptoms of depression when you aren’t exposed to as much daylight, and there is a reason for this. The two chemicals in the brain, melatonin, and serotonin play a massive role in SAD.

The role these chemicals play together determines a person’s mood, the energy they have, and their sleep-wake cycles. The lack of daylight in the winter increases levels of melatonin and doesn’t produce as much serotonin, which is how feelings of depression form.

Serotonin is a chemical that contributes to your overall well-being and happiness and creates more feel-good feelings in the brain, and it needs sunlight to flourish. Melatonin, on the other hand, makes you feel more sleepy and too much of it can lead to gloomy feelings.

This is how SAD works. With less of the happier chemical, melatonin increases and makes you feel depressed. If you have ever felt winter depression, but you feel normal in the warmer months, then you might have this condition.

Does Seasonal Affective Disorder goes away?

Generally, SAD disappears around the same time of the year, depending on your teenager. Though the cooler months could trigger SAD, your teenager may experience depression during the extreme heat and cold (summer and winter) seasons.

And, the depression might disappear when the extreme seasons go away.

What are the leading causes of depression in teenagers?

Some of us were teenagers once. Those that experienced their bittersweet teenage years went outside a lot, hung out with friends, tried to pick up summertime dates before school starts, or focused on getting into college come graduation.

Regardless of what used to be, this is what’s happening now.

Due to extreme circumstances that forced teenagers to change up their lives at a drop of a dime is adding on to their depression.

It’s common for a teenager to experience depression for a short period of time, due to hormonal changes and either an increase or decrease in their diet.

As we look closer, finding answers to better aid our beloved teenagers, we focus on what causes depression.

In order to fix an issue, using the proper tools and staying well informed will create an effective outcome.

Leading Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression (seasonal, mild, and major).

Little to no exposure of sunlight

Teenagers look forward to spending a lot of their time in the sun, even if it’s letting a healthy amount of sunlight in their messy rooms before retreating back to the darkness and comfort of their beds.

Sunlight is the ultimate source of vitamin D. Our bodies absorb calcium and phosphate from the food we consume, so vitamin D is vital to help keep that function fully functional.

Isolation

Remaining in isolation will trigger negative effects in your teenager’s brain, increasing toxic thoughts, moods, and attempts of suicide.

Reduced serotonin

While experiencing SAD, your teenager’s body will not produce enough serotonin in their bodies. Serotonin is a hormone that help stabilizes our emotions and well-being, including happiness.

The hormone communicates to the nervous system and vice versa, creating a study balance for the body to sleep, eat, and digest accordingly.

If you teenager is suffering from lack of serotonin while battling SAD, then it is imperative to reach out to a professional immediately. Lack of serotonin causes severe signs of SAD, including anxiety, excessive crying and frustration, guilt, and pity.

Abuse

Abuse is a large factor of SAD and other forms of depression.

Teenagers experiencing abuse are more likely to develop SAD, distrust, low self-esteem, and difficulty forming healthy relationships with their peers, family and friends, or doctors.

Lack of social engagement

It’s challenging to make and maintain a friendship if you don’t know how. Teenagers are social butterflies, looking to befriend the whole world (if possible).

However, it is also possible for many teenagers to have difficulty making and/or maintaining a healthy friendship.

Your teenager might experience peer pressure, bullying, or abuse when trying to make a friend with the wrong person.

Horrible home life

Similar to experiencing abuse, another huge cause of depression and SAD is allowing domestic violence in the household. Being at home is your teenagers place to escape.

If he or she experience domestic violence at home, that will lead to seasonal affective disorder, PTSD, or suicide attempts.

For some teenagers that attempt suicide, they succeed, escaping the violence in their household and breaking hearts of many.

Divorce

Divorce is on the rise in the United States. Families that experience divorce or separation might experienced depression, SAD, and other mental or psychological hinderances.

Teenagers that experience divorce in the family will have difficulty building attachment to their family and those that are close to them.

This will play a huge role towards their adulthood as they make several failed attempts building personal relationships with others, or wanting to maintain a well paying job but can’t.

Is it normal for teenagers to cry out of the blue?

Allow your teenagers to express themselves, safely and reasonably. It’s normal for teenagers to cry if they feel the sensation to cry.

However, it may raise a concern if they’re frequently crying out of the blue.

Frequent abnormal crying causes exhaustion and difficulty handling the phases of life.

Teenagers that live with crying out of nowhere might also experience burnout or anxiety along with their depression.

This will cause some problems with building relationships in their personal life, or even going out to enjoy some fresh air.

The goal is to let your teenager to feel normal as much as possible.

If they’re experiencing excessive crying, seek medical help or possible therapy.

Therapists are skilled professionals that can reach out to your teenager and guide them through their time of need.

Even if parents are against therapy, it is something to consider to reduce the abnormal crying and get your teenager the proper help he or she needs.

Are minority teenagers prone to experience depression than others?

Reported through Mental Health America (MHA), approximately 14% of the American population are either Black or African American. Over 7 million people reported to experiencing mental illness, like anxiety, depression, SAD, PTSD, and more.

The primary reason for said triggers is due to historical dehumanization, violence against the community, daily racism, and murder.

When we think about our teens, preteens, and young adults, we have to keep these thoughts at the forefront of our minds.

Minority teenagers are more likely to experience depression than other races.

This is an ultimate crisis that might start a larger scare than we anticipate, increased killings or self-harm, and much more.

Effective Ways Treat S.A.D. in Teenagers.

Now we understand what sad is and why it’s imperative to get the help that’s needed for several symptoms, within this section we will discuss effective and helpful ways to teat it.

If you believe you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you are not alone. 6 in 100 people also suffer from this every year, and there are ways to make the symptoms more tolerable or go away completely.

Increase sunlight exposure!

Going outside in the sunshine helps people battling SAD, increasing vitamin D in their system. Also, this allow teenagers to rejoice in pure warmth and see the day through a different set of eyes.

The sunlight is bright and inviting, illuminating nature’s hues and pigments.

Going on a daily stroll through the park with a dog or alone or exercising outside are some easy ways to combat the feelings of depression. You can even purchase full spectrum light bulbs to go in your lamp to make your home feel bright when it begins to get dark outside.

Go outside more!

Take some time to go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Going outside is an excellent way to reduce seasonal depression in teenagers.

Even if it’s a quick five to ten minutes standing in the sunshine or walking up and down the sidewalk, it some fresh air is a relaxing way to reduce depression.

Increasing the amount of sunlight you are exposed to every day is a great way to provide relief from SAD if you have mild symptoms. This means spending as much time outside in the sun as you can during the winter months will make you feel a lot better.

Light Therapy

Light therapy is used in a lamp or panel that can be placed on a desk, and the person with SAD sits in front of it for a certain amount of time each day.

These light therapy boxes help you to relieve most or all of your symptoms anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of your condition.

If you don’t want to sit in front of a box in the morning, you can opt for light therapy glasses or red light therapy devices.

Seek therapy or counseling!

Speaking to a specialist helps with SAD and other disorders.

They’re licensed professionals that provide an additional safe space for your teen and/or young adult to express themselves and have a better idea to process their seasonal emotions better.

Discover something simple and new to do!

Pick up a fun and flavorful hobbies that help take your mind off the Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Painting your emotions on a blank canvas or singing as loud as one can to a dope musical instrumental helps those put creativity to good use and open themselves up.

Challenge your mind to remain in the present rather than the past!

Keep your mind active by working on staying in the now instead of what could’ve been.

It takes more energy to go backwards than it is to move forward and experience good things in the now.

Even if you feel like you’re not ready to be happy, challenge your brain to think about different things to feel happy and grateful for while living in the present.

Conclusion

Throughout the world, more and more people are becoming more aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder in teenagers and young adults.

We work around the clock to provide a safe space for our younger generation to openly express their seasonal depression, sadness, and anxiety, to form a solid support system for them.

Battling depression of any kind is ultimately scary, feeling alone and in the dark, even if you’re in broad daylight. However, encouraging to act instead of being a bystander when it happens will create a better vibe for your teenager and young adult.

This allows him or her to open up to you more, and reduce the severity of their depression. A small act of kindness, consideration, and lending a listening ear can make a great difference in everyone’s life.

Feeling depressed during any time of your life is very tough, as it stops you from living the happy, fulfilled life you deserve.

The best way to treat this condition is the use of light therapy boxes, and there are many different types out there, so it is essential to choose the best according to you.

While you’re here, check out our other seasonal affective disorder articles and light therapy devices reviews!

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