Winter months can be challenging for young people. Changes in schedule, shorter days, and less time outside all contribute to seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder. Many teenagers struggle to share their lives and mental health battles with the adults around them. This is normal. However, there are countless resources to help with seasonal depression in North Carolina and beyond.
If your teenage son is struggling with signs of seasonal depression, the team at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery can help. Learn more about our programs for adolescent boys at 866.300.5275 or visit us online for more information.
What Is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD, is depression that occurs or worsens during the winter months. From October to March, the brain and body receive less sunlight. While sunlight has many benefits, such as supplying our bodies with vitamin D, sunlight also affects brain chemistry. When it is dark out, or when someone is in a dark room, the brain produces a chemical called melatonin. Natural amounts of melatonin help us fall asleep and stay asleep every night. Blue light from various screens has the reverse effect of low light, making it hard to sleep.
The right balance of melatonin for an individual can be hard to achieve, especially during times of decreased physical activity. The cold weather, daylight savings time, and holiday vacation can impact melatonin levels and depression. Studies show depression leads to higher levels of melatonin. These winter imbalances that lead to seasonal depression are very common. Symptoms and signs of SAD may include:
- Loss of motivation
- No interest in favorite activities
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
More often than not, it’s hard to know what is affecting a teenager’s mood and behavior. Hormonal shifts and social pressures play a role in the daily life of teens. Seasonal depression, however, presents with the symptoms listed above during the darker months of the year.
Seasonal Depression Treatment Options
There are several approaches to treating seasonal depression. Some techniques you can implement at home, though it is always best to seek professional help and guidance for teenage mental health. A treatment program will often assess a teen’s mood, behavior, and diet to understand what they need to thrive. Some treatment plans may include:
- Art, equine, and movement therapies
- Outdoor group therapy
- Supplements or medications
- Prescribed exercise
- Helping teens create a daily schedule
- Helping teens set and meet goals
- Strategies for avoiding self-medicating for seasonal depression.
For many teens and their parents, it’s hard to remember that seasonal depression is temporary. At home, parents can help their teens practice mindfulness. By focusing on the present moment, families can remember that the shorter days will soon pass.
Find Seasonal Depression Help in North Carolina at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
People across the northern hemisphere struggle with seasonal depression every year. If your son is showing signs of seasonal depression, he is not alone. Foothills at Red Oak, located in the beautiful North Carolina wilderness, can provide your son with the tools he needs to cope with SAD and thrive throughout the year. Our clinic specializes in dual diagnosis for mental health disorders and addiction, ranging from substance abuse to video games. Our clients love the outdoor therapy, equine training, and large animal therapy we offer. Through holistic approaches to mental and physical health, the young teenage boys who visit Foothills at Red Oak reconnect with themselves and the natural world.
Help your son thrive. To learn more about our treatments for seasonal depression, call 866.300.5275 today.