When people think of depression they usually imagine an adult. However depression and anxiety can affect children as well. One type of depression that affects both adults and children is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is sometimes not recognized right away because the depression comes and goes according to the seasons. Some external factors that can trigger S.A.D are cold and dark weather or the chaos of holidays or the loneliness from not seeing friends because of school break. Clinical factors can also play a role in this specific type of depression.
The specific cause of S.A.D is still unknown. However Mayo Clinic has stated that the sudden decrease of sunlight in Fall and Winter could be a possible cause. The decrease in daylight can also cause a decrease in serotonin levels. Serotonin is nicknamed the “Happy Hormone” this chemical in the brain can affect many aspects of a persons life. Including the following.
If a child is acting different for example having a decreased appetite, not sleeping well, sleeping too much, acting grumpy or having new troubles in school these could be signs of S.A.D. If your child or children have any of these troubles especially during Fall or Winter it might be time to speak with a pediatrician.
The right hand hormone to serotonin is melatonin. This hormone is nicknamed the “Sleep Hormone”. The production of this hormone is signaled by darkness. With it becoming darker earlier in Fall and Winter the body might produce too much melatonin making a child feel sluggish. This sudden increase in melatonin can also cause a person’s moods to change.
People who have symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are advised to spend time in the sunlight. Daylight can increase the production of serotonin which can possibly decrease the affects of S.A.D.
Again if you notice your child has depression during certain seasons speak with your pediatrician so your son or daughter can receive the best care.
Click the link to read our previous articles on Seasonal Affective Disorder .
We have discussed what S.A.D is, the causes and the symptoms. In this article we will discuss the possible risks of the increased chances to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder. The risks are the following.
Being female- S.A.D is more common in women. However men experience more severe symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Age- Younger people are more likely to develop S.A.D then those who are older.
Family History- Having a blood relative with S.A.D can increase a person’s risk into developing symptoms.
Bipolar or Clinical Depression – A person who has already been diagnosed with bipolar or depression can have a higher risk of experiencing the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Living Far Away from the Equator- It has been reported that those who live far away from the equator have a greater risk of developing S.A.D symptoms because vitamin D and sunlight can help a person feel happier.
If you experience severe S.A.D make sure to speak to your doctor. If they suggest melatonin supplements to help decrease symptoms click World Wide Labs for all natural supplements.
With Autumn around the corner the seasonal changes are coming. These can be exciting times. Fall brings pumpkin flavored everything, colorful leaves, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Then Winter presents us with snowfall, snowmen, Holiday decorations lighting up the streets and fireworks as we welcome in the new year. These things can be exciting. Though for some people seasonal change can bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Mayo Clinic defines SAD as, “A type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”
The question is what causes this specific type of depression? Mayo Clinic stated, “The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include”
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
The fact that low melatonin levels can be a factor of causing SAD is a reason that some doctors prescribe melatonin supplements to help with the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you feel depressed during the Fall or Winter or even Spring and Summer talk to your doctor. If your therapist or primary doctor suggests a melatonin supplement click this Link to learn about the all natural Melatonin supplement from Worldwide Labs.
While no one knows the exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder some hypotheses include that your circadian rhythm or your melatonin levels are off (Mayo Clinic). The most common and effective treatments is exposure to bright light in the morning. However taking melatonin may also help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder is to take melatonin. According to a study by the National Institute of
Mental Health “taking melatonin at the correct time of day . . . more than doubled their improvement in depression scores.” (NIHM) If you take melatonin for Seasonal Affective Disorder you should take the dose in the afternoon not in the morning (Science Daily).
According to Future Science, “Melatonin has been safely used in humans for years, principally to reset biological clocks. It has other potential uses as a natural sleeping pill and in the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder and some forms of depression.” Melatonin may be helpful in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder because it “resets” your biological clock.