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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Studies suggest that more than one million children and adolescents suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is related to seasonal variations in light during the fall and winter months.  Symptoms include depression, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, oversleeping and weight gain. Researchers believe Seasonal Affective Disorder is linked to the hormone melatonin.  Melatonin affects the body’s sleep-wake cycle. And when there is less daylight, melatonin production increases. When symptoms are mild, parents should encourage children with SAD to spend time outdoors during the day. For more severe symptoms, light therapy can be effective. The most common kind of phototherapy involves having a child sit under a bank of special fluorescent lights on a regular basis. If you think your child may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, talk with your pediatrician.

​The above script is part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) radio series 'A Minute for Kids,' which airs weekdays on WBBM-AM in Chicago, IL.
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