And yet, “Winter sadness” – Seasonal Affective Disorder – strikes teenagers too; and ‘curing’ them is not a simple case of ordering them to ‘snap out of it’.
Feeling apathetic is, to the cynical, part of the job description of being a teen; and yet, it is a known fact that for many, moods shilly-shally according to the weather.
A Dozen Red Flags:
1. A chronic medical condition;
2. Bad eating habits (white poison, junk food, little or no fruits and vegetables);
4. Chemical imbalances in the brain (genetic or due to illnesses);
5. Divorce of parents;
6. End of romantic relationship / hitherto close friendship;
7. Gender; females are more than twice more likely to suffer from S.A.D. than males.
8. Genetic predisposition to mental health issues;
9. Low self-esteem (abuse or bad results at school);
10. Physical Injury (accidents, trauma, assault);
11. Stress and anxiety (examinations, bullying, job-search, etc.);
12. Substance abuse.
The long and the short of it is that anything, and everything, can set off a teen’s S.A.D.-ness.
That having been said, there are many simple things one can try in order to alleviate the condition – and medication need not necessarily be one of them. Four of the most important things that help counter S.A.D. are:
It stands to reason that the existence of a condition that hinges upon the lack of natural light (and Vitamin D) for its existence would be somewhat nullified if the body is exposed to natural light, which helps produce the hormone melatonin in the body; is necessary for many biological functions.
In these days of cyber-friendships, it is absolutely vital that teens find the time to hang out physically with one another. If this can be done during a non-competitive sporting activity, so much the better.
This may seem to be a waste of time – especially if there is a great burden of assignments (or a get—together on a social site). And yet sleep allows teens to re-align their metal equilibrium. Relying on sleeping in during the weekends will probably result in rebound headaches, since the body’s system would be thrown out of kilter.
For teens, it is tempting to bring the outside inside by sitting down in front of their computer monitors, with their snacks, huddled in a dressing gown, as soon as they get home from school.
However, a lack of movement contributes to a lack of motivation, and creates a vicious circle, feeding the S.A.D. symptoms.
Hibernation is for bears.