Kids Get Seasonal Affective Disorder Too. Here Are The Signs

Older children and teens are most prone to the winter blues.

Let’s face it, COVID life and the turbulent news cycle are bumming many of us out. But some people always struggle with depression at this time of year ― regardless of what’s going on in the world. And that includes kids and teens. Watch the video above, from Veuer, to learn what symptoms to look out for in kids and how to manage them.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects about two to three per cent of Canadians, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. The condition is generally more prevalent in northern countries, where winter is long and daylight hours are short.

While it mostly affects adults under 50 (in particular women, who are diagnosed nine times more frequently than men), children and teens can also have SAD. To make this diagnosis, a medical or mental health professional needs to identify a pattern of symptoms appearing at the same time of year in the child, over the winter months. Of course, that means it takes a few years to conclude that it’s SAD, and not another condition with overlapping symptoms.

In an article about how SAD affects kids, published this week in HuffPost, in the U.S., experts recommend that parents should consult a paediatrician, therapist our school counsellor, if they notice their child or teen is struggling with mood, motivation, sleep or appetite issues at this time of year.

“A comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation can help identify the problem, whether it’s bullying, substance abuse, SAD or other medical issues like vitamin deficiency, vision issues, thyroid problems or other illnesses that can present as depression,” the report says.

There are various ways to manage SAD, and the best strategy for each child will depend on the extent to which it’s impacting their daily life and activities.

Treatment options include making sure your kids get enough natural sunlight outdoors, light therapy with a special lamp or light box, talk therapy or medication prescribed to increase their serotonin levels.

For more expert advice on kids and SAD, read the full HuffPost story here.

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