Tis the Season … But ‘Happy Holidays’ Does Not Ring True for Everyone.
According to information from the Cleveland Clinic, “approximately one half million of the U.S. population suffers from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild form of winter blues.“
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is defined as “major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.’‘Winter’ or ‘Holiday blues,’ are less severe forms of seasonal mood disorder. Holiday Blues Defined – “Feelings of sadness, loneliness, depression and anxiety in and around the holidays, caused by loss of family and loved ones through divorce or distance from the childhood home or place where the holidays were most enjoyed in years past.”
Types of Depression –
- Major Depression.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder.
- Bipolar Disorder.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Psychotic Depression.
- Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- ‘Situational’ or Reactive Depression.
Depression Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) –
- More than 1 out of 20 Americans 12 years of age and older reported current depression (moderate or severe depressive symptoms in the past 2 weeks) in 2009-2012. (Figure at right.)
- Among Americans 12 years of age and over, a greater percentage of females reported depression than females.
- Almost 10% of adults aged 40-59 reported current depression.
Symptoms of Depression – According to the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic (DCSM) criteria for Major Depressive Disorder, a person must experience five or more symptoms below for a continuous period of at least two weeks.
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Change in weight or appetite (either increase or decrease)
- Change in activity: being more active than usual or being less active than usual
- Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired or not having any energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulties concentrating and paying attention
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Check with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms. For a diagnosis of depression, most symptoms must be present every day or nearly every day and must cause significant distress or problems in daily life functioning. Request a referral to a qualified licensed therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, mental health counselor) if these symptoms are severe and/or disrupting your daily life, work or relationships. Seek Professional Help for Depression.
Depression is linked to a greater risk of heart disease. Depression can affect the body as well as the mind. Depression can result in increased negative behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, overeating and physical inactivity and lead to obesity and an increased risk of heart disease.
Treatment for Depression (may Include but not limited to) –
- Medications (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety agents, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors SSRI’s, etc.)
- Psychotherapy/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Light therapy
Adjunctive (Supportive) Therapies to Improve Mood – (*Ask your doctor.)
- *Vitamin Supplements
- *Integrative Therapies (eg. hypnosis, meditation, mindfulness, reiki, yoga)
According to the National Institutes of Health/National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Therapies – “An evaluation of 15 studies concluded that relaxation techniques are better than no treatment in reducing symptoms of depression but are not as beneficial as psychological therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.”
Other Methods to Help Improve Mood –
- Spending Time in Nature.
- A Sense of Gratitude.
- Help Others.
Cape Ann is filled with natural beauty that provides places to walk, meditate and feel grateful. This holiday season, if you are feeling sad or blue think about exercising outdoors or join in an exercise class. Get outside for walks surrounded by nature. Phone a friend. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or nursing home. ‘Helping Others’ in need can sometimes help ourselves.
Lend a Helping Hand to Others – Reaching out to others year-round is always nice, ll year, but during this holiday season especially. Pick up the phone to check in on family, friends and neighbors that may be at risk and need a hand getting through the holidays.
Information From a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Representative – “It is always okay to pass along the Lifeline’s information to anyone you are concerned about and who may be thinking about suicide. If you ever believe that someone is in imminent risk of hurting themselves or someone else, it is imperative that you call 911 or other emergency services for assistance. Additionally, If you are ever concerned about someone’s well-being, but are not certain how best to help them, it is always okay to contact the Lifeline (800-273-8255) yourself and ask for the counselor’s recommendation on the situation. We are always happy to help anyone when it comes to suicide, and that include those who may be concerned for another person.”
– Thomas S. (from the National Suicide Presentation Lifeline)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
I first saw this Lifeline # posted on Facebook with a request to “share to 3 others.” Please share this phone number with someone in need. You could help save a life!
For More Information on Suicide Prevention – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/story-categories/depression/
Wishing you a peaceful and healthy holiday season. – Karen
Karen Pischke B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N. Alumnus. Certified Hypnotherapist, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Usui Reiki Teacher/Komyo Shihan. Owner/Founder of Dreamtime Wellness LLC. Your Bridge to Health. Promoting Optimal Wellness for Mind, Body and Spirit www.DreamtimeWellness.com. Find us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreamtime-Wellness-/348619611849199
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.
Sources and For More Information –
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Cleveland Clinic on SADS
- Harvard Health Publications
- Harvard Health Publications
- National Institutes for Health (NIH)
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Therapies
- Symptomatic Improvement Reported After Receiving Reiki at a Cancer Infusion Center. Am J Hosp Palliative Care. March 2013 vol. 30 no. 2 216-217.