The effect of seasonal depression on teens

For many teenagers, as the weather becomes frigid, happiness begins to deplete; this is what specialists call seasonal depression. Due to seasonal depression, flaws may appear in students’ work ethics and lifestyle.

During winter, many are being diagnosed with seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder is the medical term for this strand of depression, otherwise known as SAD. Seasonal depression typically begins in the fall months and continues over the duration of winter; SAD usually concludes around the beginning of the spring.

According to Cleveland Clinic, during these few months, people may experience hopelessness, low energy, difficulty concentrating, sleeping too much/little and overeating or undereating. It is likely that seasonal depression is linked to a more complex mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, etc. Although, it is best to see a healthcare provider if experiencing any unusual symptoms. Seasonal depression is most commonly seen in women, although researchers are not sure exactly why.

According to Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder impacts about 5% of adults between 18 and 30. Although, according to Healthy Children, seasonal depression has been spiking more recently in older children and teens. The cause of SAD may be due to the lack of sunlight impacting one’s circadian rhythm, causing a drop in serotonin levels, (the happy neurotransmitter located in the brain,) and/or an increase in melatonin levels (a natural hormone in the body that induces tiredness.)

Teenagers are especially susceptible to this type of depression. At Antioch Community High School, adults see the most significant decline in productive behavior starting around the middle of November and ending in late February or early March. This time of year is also when most teenagers become emotionally overwhelmed; this can cause them to shut down and/or lose motivation. ACHS English teacher, Frank Fracek, teaches many classes a day and has noticed changes in students’ behavior.

“Kids seem more withdrawn and tired and they just want to be inside,” Fracek said. “It’s cold and dreary outside.”

For many teens diagnosed with SAD, it may be hard to complete school work, get to places on time or even get out of bed in the morning. Teenagers are more prone to breakdowns when they are emotionally overwhelmed compared to people at other ages. Students at ACHS might be dealing with some of these symptoms.

Based on a poll administered by Sequoit Media’s Instagram, 71% of people polled have experienced seasonal affective disorder.

As the season changes, make sure to check up on friends and family to make sure they’re doing alright.