Holiday ‘Blues’, or Something More?

The Change of Season Blues

The holiday season can be stressful, and we have lots of memories of lost loved ones that tend to surface more poignantly during this time of the year. Clearly, our mood can subsequently take a hit. However, in addition, how many of you can relate to the dismay of darkness settling-in as early as 5:00 pm? I know it gets me down in the dumps. For some, however, it’s more than just feeling somewhat ‘blue’ in mood; some struggle with severe bouts of depression during this time of year, known as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD). This type of depressed mood differs from classic depression in that the onset is rather predictable, usually around September or October, and corresponds with the shortening of daylight.

How Common?

As would be expected, depends on where you live. If you’re lucky enough to live in the cold Northern regions, rates go as high as 20%, but as low as 2% in brighter climates. Oh well, guess that’s bad news for all of us here in Pennsylvania.

Kids and Teens affected too?

This is not an adult-only malady. SAD usually begins in the teen years and strikes girls four times more than boys. Interestingly, teens born in the Spring or Summer are more likely to suffer from SAD than those born in the colder months. Not sure why, but might be because of how a child is light-programmed from early on in their life.

What to do?

Well, short of moving to Florida where it’s still dark but at least it’s warm and not so cloudy, treatment involves the systematic use of light. Guess this makes sense given the problem is based in lack of light. The ‘phototherapy’ involves sitting briefly in front of box that emits intense light, or the use of a Dawn Simulator; both are quite effective as well as traditional cognitive-behavioral talk therapy, and medication.

Hope that helps

I wish you and yours the cheeriest and happiest of a Holiday Season. However, if you’re feeling down, lacking in motivation, and blah in mood, or you notice your kids being exceptionally moody or agitated during the Fall and Winter months, then please do not hesitate to get help. You can reach me at jcarosso@cpcwecare.com or call 724-850-7200. You can find out more about SAD in an article on the e-Edition of the Exponent Telegram where I was interviewed about this form of depression. Check it out at www.exponent-telegram.com

God bless.

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Dr. John Carosso
Licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers
Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working through his own practice, and in residential, inpatient, outpatient, school, and home settings. He is a partner and Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).

Dr. Carosso, who holds a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis in Special Education, has conducted more than 20,000 evaluations on children with autism, learning problems and dyslexia, attention-deficit, trauma, depression, bipolar, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and related difficulties. He has supervised dozens of clinical teams and regularly provides consultation to organizations, agencies, and parents at 6 office locations in four counties counties. Dr. Carosso also has presented at regional conferences, served on the advisory boards of local autism societies, and has served for over 10 years as an evaluator and expert witness in child welfare cases.

He produces a video series, "Dr. C's Morning Minute," that provides helpful strategies for effectively managing childhood autism, ADHD, and behavioral, emotional and learning issues. Dr. Carosso formerly co-hosted the Live weekly PCNC cable television program "Community Psychiatric Centers Presents", targeting child mental health issues, and was a regular guest on various talk shows, including "Night Talk", discussing childhood issues and related current events.
Dr. John Carosso

Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working through his own practice, and in residential, inpatient, outpatient, school, and home settings. He is a partner and Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com). Dr. Carosso, who holds a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis in Special Education, has conducted more than 20,000 evaluations on children with autism, learning problems and dyslexia, attention-deficit, trauma, depression, bipolar, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and related difficulties. He has supervised dozens of clinical teams and regularly provides consultation to organizations, agencies, and parents at 6 office locations in four counties counties. Dr. Carosso also has presented at regional conferences, served on the advisory boards of local autism societies, and has served for over 10 years as an evaluator and expert witness in child welfare cases. He produces a video series, "Dr. C's Morning Minute," that provides helpful strategies for effectively managing childhood autism, ADHD, and behavioral, emotional and learning issues. Dr. Carosso formerly co-hosted the Live weekly PCNC cable television program "Community Psychiatric Centers Presents", targeting child mental health issues, and was a regular guest on various talk shows, including "Night Talk", discussing childhood issues and related current events.

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