Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder that impacts individuals primarily during the winter months. It’s also known as seasonal depression disorder, and it’s characterized by changes in mood and periods of depression in the colder months. For those who struggle with seasonal depression disorder, there can be a link to major depressive disorder. The most effective treatment methods for these mental health concerns can also overlap, making it important to understand how they’re related.
Teens struggling with feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities they typically enjoy during the winter months could be experiencing SAD. If you’re concerned about seasonal depression and the effects it could be having on you or your teen, Ascend Healthcare is here to help with information and support. Check out this blog to learn more.
The Connection Between Seasonal & Major Depression
Another way to refer to SAD is as a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. One of the major factors contributing to seasonal depression disorder is a lack of sunlight during the colder months. This condition typically follows the same pattern year after year. Some of the most common symptoms of this depressive disorder include:
- Changes in appetite
- Sleeping too much
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Trouble concentrating
Many of these symptoms are also common in those who struggle with major depressive disorder. Many individuals who experience depressive episodes throughout the year also experience consistent depressive episodes during the winter.
Different Types of Depression
Seasonal depression is just one of the different types of depression people can face. While major depressive disorder is the most common form of depression, other types include:
- Bipolar Disorder – This mental health condition is characterized by periods of mania and periods of depression
- Postpartum Depression – This form of depression can impact new mothers
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – Menstruating women can experience depressive episodes before their period begins
Other mental health concerns can also be present alongside depression. Anxiety, for example, is common in those who struggle with depression. Some individuals even turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of depression, which can lead to substance use disorders. While these substances can provide short-term relief, in the long-term, they’re likely to make everything worse.
Teens who struggle with depression might face difficulty in expressing how they feel. Having open and honest conversations about mental health can support your child and ensure they have an avenue for seeking help.
Treatment for Seasonal Depression Disorder
Seasonal depression disorder can be treated. The most effective treatment programs are tailored to the needs of each individual client and can involve a combination of medication and therapy. Light therapy, in which participants spend time in front of artificial sunlight, can be helpful during the winter months. Other approaches to treatment include talk therapy, experiential therapies, and medication.
Depression Treatment at Ascend Healthcare
If you’re concerned that depression is disrupting your everyday activities, it might be time to reach out for support. Whether it’s seasonal depression or major depressive disorder, Ascend can help. Reach out for yourself or a loved one through our contact form today. You can also call us at 310.388.3713 to get in touch with one of our admissions experts ASAP.