What is Seasonal Depression?


During the cold winter months as the days begin to get darker and shorter, people experience a shift in their mood. We call this the “winter blues”. It is normal for people to feel a little down during the cold, long winter months. Seasonal depression however, is more intense than your average winter blues. Seasonal depression, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder, is depression that is triggered by the change of seasons. Seasonal depression can affect your daily life, your way of thinking, and how you overcome normal daily activities.  Seasonal depression begins in fall and continues into the long winter months. This is because it begins to get dark earlier and people stay inside more often than usual. 

Although seasonal depression is more common in adults, it can also affect adolescents. Between 1.7% and 5.5% of 9-19-year-old children suffer from seasonal depression. The common symptoms of seasonal depression in adolescents include: feeling depressed, losing interest in activities, having trouble sleeping (too much or too little), irritability, having difficulties concentrating, struggling in school, social withdraw, feeling worthless, and thoughts about death or suicide. 

What are treatment options for seasonal depression? There are several treatment options for those that struggle with seasonal depression. These include medication, light therapy, psychotherapy, and vitamin D intake.