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Teens Fight the Winter Blues

Invariably there will be boredom during the winter months.

Many teens may not deal with it directly. There’s always something else to get in the way be it school work part–time jobs sports or hanging out with friends. But there’s always the misery of being cooped up inside. And as of late it’s been particularly miserable — the weather is bitterly cold and windy and there’s not even any snow to make up for it.

What to do?

“I just try and stay as warm as possible and avoid going outside because it’s freezing” Elizabethtown senior Caitlin Wilson said. “I have also been reading a lot of books.”

Many people are plagued by seasonal affective disorder also called winter blues or seasonal depression during this time of year. The U.S. National Library of Medicine has said that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much have little energy and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe they usually clear up.”

Long discounted by skeptics seasonal affective disorder has now been diagnosed as a common mood disorder. It is a fact that mood and personality play a large role in identifying a patient with it. But would there be a biological factor in the disorder as well?

“Our levels of serotonin a mood–elevating chemical drop in the winter months causing us to feel down” telegraph.co.uk stated in an article. “Scientists from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto Canada have found that as the days become shorter we produce high levels of a protein which interferes with serotonin. The protein is a serotonin transporter which helps the “happy” chemical to flow around the brain. When this protein becomes more active in the winter it soaks up the serotonin that lies between our brain cells causing levels to fall.”

There are many treatments such as antidepressant medication and light therapy but those would be some of the more drastic measures. There are far more fun ways to combat the winter blues such as focusing on New Year’s resolutions relaxing with friends and family or even a teen favorite sleeping.

Elizabethtown Area High School senior Meghan Kreider prefers a similar option.

“I’ve been watching a lot of movies on my laptop. I won’t even get off of my futon” she said. “It’s sad but I live in my ‘man cave’ as I like to call it and stay under the covers.”

And good news for coffee lovers: Time Magazine states that “a recent analysis of data from the massive Nurses’ Health Study found that women who drank more than four cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of depression than women who drank less. The research did not include men but there’s little reason to suspect a wildly different effect in them.”

Feelgooder.com offers meeting new people and socializing with old friends as good options to avoiding the doldrums of winter. Another way to beat the boredom suggested Elizabethtown junior Amanda Matta is trying different activities.

“I’ve been doing a lot of strange things I wouldn’t normally do” Matta said. “Like yesterday I came home from school baked chocolate chip cookies polished my riding boots then watched two hours of ‘Big Bang Theory.’ And ate a lot of cookies.”

So if the keys to happiness during the winter months can be obtained through activity exposure to bright lights socializing relaxing eating cookies and drinking coffee it would seem relatively simple to keep from falling into seasonal affective disorder. Personal motivation plays a key role and in the end it is all up to the individual.

Article is from the PennLive.com site. Read the article here.

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