Winter is usually associated with Christmas and the start of a new year, which is literally the season to be jolly. The general atmosphere of the season is celebratory, filled with excitement. This is why it can be a bit strange when kids who should be excited suddenly begin to exhibit symptoms of depression.
Medically, a depression that starts at the beginning of a season and ends with the season is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter blues is a type of SAD.
When the winter season is associated with a bad memory, the onset of winter blues is understandable.
Winter blues (depression during the colder months)
You notice that your usually excited and outgoing child suddenly becomes sad, moody, and withdrawn once winter hits the town. You also see that as soon as the colder months begin to leave, your child becomes excited again. This is a typical trait of children who suffer from SAD.
Depression in children is not unusual, and treatment has to start early. The occurrence of SAD in children is also not unusual. Due to its seasonal nature, most parents find it hard to detect SAD early in their children.
Does your child have the winter blues? (Symptoms)
Every disorder has its symptoms. Unlike normal depression, the winter blues only show up in the cold months. Your child might not be suffering from the common flu. It could be more than that.
Perhaps you suspect that your child is suffering from SAD, here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Change in appetite.
- Increased craving for food with high carbohydrate content.
- Weight gain.
- Constant tiredness.
- Lack of excitement and low energy.
- No interest in the holiday cheer.
- Self-loathing feeling.
- Negative thoughts.
- Lack of concentration
When a child exhibits these traits, they are going through the winter blues.
Causes of SAD
The change in season triggers winter blues in some persons. SAD is more than just the average winter blues can also cause the patient to think suicidal thoughts.
During winter, the daylight period is shorter than the night, which leaves the season with longer nights.
Persons who already suffer from SAD find this period quite distressing.
Kids who suffer from depression can easily slip into SAD due to the perceived gloom of the season.
The change causes a shift in people’s biological clock, usually upsetting their regular pattern.
Treatment for winter blues (SAD)
Generally, SAD symptoms will improve with the change in season, but there are also treatment methods to help the patient enjoy the colder months.
These treatments include:
- Light therapy
Light therapy works by infusing light into the mental space of the child.
Simply use a harmless light and expose the child to light rays for about 20 minutes. This should be done often
The type of anti-depressant commonly used to treat SAD is Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Talk therapy
Tal therapy or cognitive behavior therapy is a great way to treat SAD
Most importantly, encourage the child to spend time in the sunlight. It helps J