Dr. Cindy Gellner explains the symptoms and treatment options that might help if your child has seasonal depression.">

Dec 24, 2017 — Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression that is linked to shorter daylight hours. About six percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the condition. On today's Health Minute, pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner explains the symptoms and treatment options that might help if your child has seasonal depression.

Interview

Announcer: The Health Minute, produced by University of Utah Health.

Interviewer: Lately, it seems like your child has been a little down and depressed, but it might not be actual depression. Pediatrician, Dr. Cindy Gellner, tell us about Seasonal Affective Disorder and kids.

Dr. Gellner: It's a seasonal type of depression that we see when it's wintertime and daylights get shorter. It's most common in older teens and young adults, and more often affects girls. Symptoms include those of normal depression, but they seem to only happen in the wintertime and get better during the spring. These can include feelings of hopelessness, sleeping more than usual, having a hard time completing assignments, and not really motivated for school. They can even be less social than before.

Take them to their pediatrician. This is a brain chemistry issue, not a behavior problem. Increased light exposure helps, so try taking a walk in the daylight. Talk with a counselor, and spend extra time with your child.

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