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Seasonal Affective Disorder in High School Students

You probably looked at this title with confusion. Seasonal depression? Yes, seasonal depression. Seasonal Depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), known commonly under "winter blues", "winter depression", and "summer depression." It is a mood disorder subset in people who usually exhibit neurotypical mental health throughout the year, but start to show signs of increase depressive thoughts annually. 

Seasonal depression usually comes in the winter, especially in the winter. Seasonal Depression can develop at any age, but most diagnosis has been found to occur between adolescence and early adulthood — around high school. 

Why do high schoolers get seasonal depression? Seasonal depression has many factors that contribute to its development. Have you ever watched the sun rise while at school? The lack of sun may help start the downwards spiral into seasonal depression. Lack of Vitamin D begins to cause moodiness and take away the energy high school students need to begin their day. 

Why does S.A.D tend to affect teenagers? As a high school student, have you ever had to pull an all-nighter to get your work done or been so tired from schoolwork you could barely stay awake? Or had tons of deadlines for seemingly all of your classes in those few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break? Those stressors can begin to form the neuro-reaction to the melatonin (which regulates sleep) and serotonin (which regulates mood), which begin to form into S.A.D. 

The level of stress teenagers are put through also seems to cause what teachers call "senioritis", a syndrome where students don't care about their work anymore, but it's actually the lack of energy and dissociation from S.A.D. Students can't care about their piles of homework because it causes their brains to shut down from stress. 

Another way S.A.D. effects students is with a weakened immune system. A popular phrase used against people with mental disorders is that it's "just in their head," but that's the very reason why we should care so much. Your brain controls everything that goes on in your body, and when the mind is affected by stress and lack of vitamins, it also causes physical symptoms. Without regulated neurotransmitters or hindered neurotransmitters due to depression, our bodies tend to "give up", along with our attitudes on life. 

If you believe you're carrying the fatiguing effects of S.A.D., call your doctor and set up an appointment or text 741-741 with the message "START" to discuss your issues with a trained specialist; 24 hours of the day. 

 

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