Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When your Child Suffers from SAD

If your child slows down or appears to be in a funk during the late fall or winter season, he may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A form of depression, SAD can be mild, moderate, or severe and may require medical intervention.

As the days grow shorter, and we are exposed to less sunlight, some people react negatively to the change in sleep cycle and circadian rhythms. The lack of sunlight can also alter serotonin levels in the brain, causing a drop in mood. This disorder is most common in people between the ages of 15-55 and affects more women than men. Those who live in northern climates or those with relatives who suffer from SAD or depression are most likely to experience the syndrome.

Symptoms of SAD
  • change in appetite
  • lowered mood
  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • change in sleep patterns
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • difficulty concentrating
  • lack of interest in socializing
  • sudden drop in grades

If your child or anyone in your family is exhibiting symptoms of SAD, contact your doctor for information on treatments, which could include:

  • phototherapy
  • antidepressants
  • talk therapy
  • behavior therapy
  • vitamins
  • melatonin

You can help your SAD afflicted family member by being patient, spending quality time with her, and encouraging her to:
  • eat a balanced diet
  • keep a regular bedtime routine
  • talk about her feelings
  • avoid sugar and empty carbohydrates
  • spend time outdoors whenever possible during daylight hours
  • get at least an hour of exercise each day

Don't assume that just because the condition is seasonal, it is benign. Depression at any time of the year can be dangerous and may lead to eating disorders, self-harming, or, in rare cases, suicide. Take your child's SAD seriously, and seek the advice of a qualified medical professional if her symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.

No comments:

Post a Comment