Seasonal Affective Disorder in Children

Seasonal Affective Disorder in children is a lot less common than in adults. But that is because symptoms are milder and someone what hidden than symptoms in adults.  Research suggests that around 1 million school-age children and teens in the U.S. suffer from SAD.  SAD seems to get worse as people age, but may appear at any stage in a person’s life.

Symptoms in children occur when they are in school, which can be a stressful time anyway.  Parents may mistake symptoms for just problems in school.  It can take years before a child is diagnosed because parents and children don’t recognize the seasonal patterns.  It’s important to keep an eye for warning symptoms that your child is suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms include: tiredness or loss of energy, crankiness or irritability Рcrying in spells, problems in school – including difficulty concentrating and doing schoolwork, oversleeping – including difficulty waking up in the morning, and over eating – especially carbohydrate cravings.

Parents of children and teens with SAD should participate in their treatment.  Learn about the disorder and share it with your child.  They may need help with homework, so make time to help them.  Make sure the child’s teachers know of your child’s situation.  The important thing is to make sure your child is getting the help that they need to feel better.

Light therapy is drug-free treatment for SAD, so it is safe for older children.¬† Children can sit in front of a light therapy box while eating breakfast, doing homework, watching TV, reading a book or may other options. If you think that your child might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, it’s important that you contact your child’s physician immediately to discuss diagnosis and treatment.