How to manage seasonal affective disorder this time of year

A Giant Schnauzer owned by a Port Allen couple won the American Kennel Club’s National Championship Dog Show on Sunday, Dec. 19.
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 11:48 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Some would call this “the most wonderful time of the year.” But others may have an opposite experience, especially children out of school the next several weeks.

Dr. Susan Bankston with the Baton Rouge Clinic said during late December, we see the least amount of sunlight, which can trigger seasonal affective disorder.

And it’s not just in adults. Children of all ages can develop symptoms.

“So, you end up getting sleepier, you get less enthused about doing stuff, and then that starts negative thoughts and all of that so parents need to listen for that,” said Dr. Bankston. “Don’t think that they are just being bad teenagers. They really might be having a little seasonal affective disorder.”

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She said this could happen to anyone, including grade school kids, high schoolers and adults.

Parents should watch for signs like if a child stays in their room all day, does not engage with other family members, has a drop in grades or loses interest in a sport they used to love.

“Things that you could do to help that would be exercise outside,” said Dr. Bankston. “Try to get whatever sunlight you can. And when you can’t do that, talk to your doctor. There are some medicines that they can go to.”

There is also light therapy which helps your brain make more serotonin, making you happier. Those can be purchased at most big-box retailers, like Walmart or Amazon. Counseling also helps.

“When you know about it and when you teach your children when they’re having these symptoms, and you talk to them and say I think this is what’s going on with you,” said Dr. Bankston. “So, let’s talk about that. How can we fix that?”

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