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Holiday Blues May Signal Need for Help

During the holiday season, starting around Thanksgiving and going into the New Year, people may find themselves suffering from the holiday blues where the social demands of the season, inability to be with friends and family, along with unrealistic expectations and financial issues bring stress and depression. The mixed emotions of the holiday season may bring sadness or anxiety along with feelings of excitement and hope. Personal struggles during this time may make one feel isolated and alone.

Holiday Blues Physical Symptoms

For many, the holiday blues or seasonal depression, may be exhibited in physical symptoms that are also stress responses. Some of the symptoms include headaches, overeating, excessive drinking or substance abuse, difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or stressed out, or complaints of being too tired or fatigued. For those that do not develop clinical depression, the stress and anxiety can and often does develop into the holiday blues.

Holiday Blues vs Mental Illness

Holiday blues are different from a diagnosis of mental illness; however, short term mental health issues need to be taken seriously as they may lead to clinical anxiety and depression. While symptoms may be temporary during the holiday season, the blues can become a problem that needs to be addressed if they last more than two weeks.

Seeking Help for the Blues

If you find yourself feeling down or blue when winter arrives every year, with those negative thoughts and feelings lasting after the holidays have passed, you may have seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Having the holiday blues may actually be SAD which is a form of depression brought on by the change of seasons. Talking with a mental health professional about your symptoms is the first step toward finding a treatment that works for you.

Dr. for Holiday Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder

Don’t miss out on all the joy and fun of the holiday season. If you are experiencing the blues of the season, feeling depressed or anxious, call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment where a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan can help put you on the positive track to enjoying life once again.

Holiday Depression Dampens the Spirit

During this time of good cheer, bright and colorful decorations, advertisements and commercials showing happy times seemingly enjoyed by all except for maybe you, makes being depressed all that more noticeable to others and to one’s self.  Signs of holiday depression or sadness may bring comments like “Don’t be a Grinch,” or being called “Scrooge,” which certainly do not help cheer you up at all.

Holidays Not Always A Happy Time

The months of November and December may not be in reality so cheerful. The store window dressings, magazine decorating articles, food ads, and holiday shows belie what may really be going on in people’s lives. The end of the year is often extremely stressful trying to plan for the holidays with limited finances, end of year deadlines and responsibilities. In addition, social work events, poor eating and drinking habits, or dealing with increased family stress also occur. Add holiday stress on top of dealing with the loss of a loved one during increasingly cold and dark winter days, and holiday depression finds its way into thousands of lives.

Sadness or Depression

It can be normal to be sad or depressed at any time of the year. The stress of the holidays may trigger sadness or depression for many. Seeing others happy and cheerful, full of generous spirit, may make one feel there is something wrong with them if they do not feel that way. During the months of November and December the stress and anxiety experienced may cause those who are normally content with their lives to experience loneliness, a lack of fulfillment, sadness or depression.

Signs of Holiday Depression

The most common signs of depression are crying, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, social withdrawal, feelings of sadness, thoughts of being worthless; additionally, irritability, changes in sleep, weight, appetite, blaming oneself or feeling guilty about a situation or event are commonly seen. These symptoms can come and go during the year. If they become severe or last for more than a couple weeks, it may be more than the holidays causing this. It is time to get professional help, turn your life around letting some joy back into your life.

Statistics of Holiday Depression

Part of feeling depressed can come from being alone, or from having limited support of family and friends. In the U.S. 43% of adults are single and 27% live alone. With senior citizens 17% are single, divorced or widowed over the age of 65 often with health and mobility issues. Women have twice the risk as men for depression. After development of heart disease, depression is the next most debilitating illness for women, 10th for men.

Holiday Depression Help

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but some people find them anything but happy times. Call the office for a confidential appointment to determine if you have seasonal affective depression, a bout of the blues, or are clinically depressed. Help is available. Call today.