Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the depression set off by the changing of the seasons (usually colder seasons), is not only a condition experienced by adults. Children can be equally susceptible to the downsides of S.A.D. but are much less likely to be diagnosed.
Southington psychologist Joyce C. Day explains, “There is not a ton of research on SAD and children, but it can affect children also, especially those who have mood disorders. It can also affect children from a secondary angle in that if a parent of children is affected with SAD it can absolutely have ramifications for a young child. “
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are similar in both adults and children, but may be harder to pin down in kids since they can have wildly ranging moods normally, and can be “off” from day to day due to being overtired, over-sugared, or just over-stimulated.
Nevertheless, parents can look out for certain characteristics that can signal their child is suffering from S.A.D. and try some home remedies or bring the child in to a professional for an assessment.
Typical signs of S.A.D. include the following:
Loss of interest in normal activities
Significant changes in sleep patterns
Lack of energy and motivation
Sudden drop in grades
No desire to spend time with friends
Rapid mood swings
Talks of hopelessness and continuous frustration
Inability to concentrate
If you suspect your child is experiencing the symptoms of S.A.D. it’s important to step in and talk about it. According to KidsHealth.org, “The problems caused by SAD — such as lower-than-usual grades or less energy for socializing with friends — can affect self-esteem and leave people feeling disappointed, isolated, and lonely, especially if they don't realize what's causing the changes in energy, mood, and motivation.”
Further, as a parent, if you are living with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any other form of depression, understand that your child can suffer from that as well. For your own health, and that of your family, please take action to address your symptoms and always remember, a new season is always just around the corner.