Seasonal Affective Disorders Essay

2412 words - 10 pages

Seasonal Affective Disorders

It is rather common for a child's behavior to change due to the weather or season. Scientists have been researching this change of behavior in children for some time. Research has found that this variation happens primarily in two of the seasons out of the year. Other discoveries include both the symptoms of this disorder and some treatment options to aid in controlling it. The scientists have termed this condition as "seasonal affective disorder". This is a very common occurrence in Alaska, the only region of the United States of America with latitude of over sixty degrees north.
Seasonal affective disorder or SAD, as it is referred to, is a pattern of major depressive episodes that occur and remit with changes in the seasons.1 The two types of seasonal patterns that have been identified are the fall-onset type called winter depression; and the spring-onset type called summer depression. Winter depression is the more common of the two disorders, which begins in the late fall to early winter months and diminishes during the summer months.
Children who suffer from the disorder SAD have certain symptoms that separate them from the regular depression that is common among the general population. Almost all the children with SAD suffer from one or more of the following symptoms during the winter months: sadness; anxiety; and irritability. Some will show symptoms such as: fatigue, sleeping problems, increase in appetite, headaches, and carbohydrate or junk food cravings. There are also signs that can show problems occurring at school. These symptoms are decline in academic achievements, loss of desire to take part in activities, memory impairment, poor organization skills, and difficulty in writing. Children might also show some behavioral difficulties such as: withdrawal from family and friends, crying spells, temper tantrums, and tendency to watch too much television without being able to recall what it was about with ease.
If these symptoms appear over a two-week period or longer during the winter months, a child may be suffering from SAD. Occasionally parents see this change in behavior and think that it might be their child going through puberty, and nothing more. Parents should pay close attention to this, because it may be more than just a hormonal imbalance in their children. During children's puberty, their bodies are going through changes that may cause a shift in their sleep habits, appetite, behavior, and lifestyles. This is common, but if it is exceptionally more frequent during the winter, or only occurs in the winter, when symptoms are more apparent, an appointment with a family physician can assure that everything is in order with the child's health.
Scientists have found several reasons why children are affected with the winter depression. During the winter months, there is a decrease in the bright light, in which people have grown accustomed to in the summer and pre-winter...

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