As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, seasonal depression may creep in. Less natural light, fewer opportunities to spend time outside, and winter weather are common causes of seasonal depression. For many people, including adolescents and young men, depression can rise during the winter months when sports seasons end. Family stress and holiday pressure can cause many adolescent boys to withdraw. They may be less likely to engage socially with family and friends. Sometimes, this behavior change is normal. Other times, it can be a warning sign of changes in mental health. Seasonal depression treatment can help teens mitigate common symptoms and regain control of their lives.
If your teen is struggling with signs of seasonal depression, Foothills at Red Oak Recovery can help. Learn more about our therapies designed for adolescent boys at 866.300.5275 or visit us online today.
What Is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, also commonly called SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months. As the days get shorter, the brain and body receive less sunlight. This lack of sunlight causes a shift in brain chemistry, causing the brain to produce higher levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical that helps us fall asleep at night. Studies show increased melatonin production is linked to higher rates of depression. As the body’s internal clock moves out of sync with darker, shorter days, fewer opportunities may be to exercise. Less physical activity reduces the body’s levels of endorphins, a mood-boosting chemical. For many in northern states or states with winter weather, seasonal depression is prevalent. Signs of seasonal depression include:
- Increased fatigue
- Lack of interest in various activities
- Mood swings
- Decreased appetite
- Weight Loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Easily agitated
- Feeling worthless
With teenagers, it’s hard to know what affects their mood. Pressures at home, school, and relationships can impact every teenager’s day-to-day life. Hormonal changes and brain development also cause shifts in mood and behavior. If you see notable changes in your teenager’s daily habits during the late fall and winter months, they may be struggling with seasonal depression.
3 Ways to Avoid Seasonal Depression Triggers
There are many triggers for seasonal depression to help teens and the whole family get through winter.
- Get outside: Natural light can help the brain adjust melatonin production to mitigate depression, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Sunlight also increases vitamin D production to help reduce symptoms of depression and boost the immune system. There are also special light bulbs and lamps designed to mimic natural sunlight indoors for those who can’t get outside.
- Socializing: In the winter months without school, it can be easy to neglect friends. Many teens may miss their sports teams and feel forced to spend time with family. Encouraging your teen to plan and maintain a social schedule can help mitigate seasonal depression. This can help physical, emotional, and intellectual health impacted by the effects of seasonal depression. Indoor winter club sports and other scheduled group activities can offer support for your teen outside the house.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. For many teens, it can be easy to spiral into negative thinking about the past or future. By practicing mindfulness at home, your child can gain perspective and feel more centered. Realizing that winter is temporary and that sports seasons, school, and other life events will return soon can help mitigate the dark thoughts that often accompany seasonal depression.
While seasonal depression has many triggers, it’s always good to be mindful of your child’s personal triggers. As the days get shorter, take the time to engage, assess, and discuss how they’re feeling. If you suspect they are suffering from seasonal depression, call a therapist for a depression treatment center referral.
Treat Seasonal Depression at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
If your teenage son is struggling with seasonal depression, they are not alone. Countless people battle depression each year when the days get shorter. The friendly staff of Foothills at Red Oak Recovery can help your teen mitigate depression. Our depression treatment center works with adolescent males to overcome substance abuse and co-occurring issues like seasonal depression. We believe in holistic healing to help our young clients gain control of their lives. Call us 866.300.5275 today to get started at Foothills.