Unfortunately, the holidays are not always a joyful time for everyone. According to one survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), people may experience mixed emotions and increased stress during the holidays.
Positive Emotions at the Holidays: Happiness, Love, Connectedness, Higher Energy
Negative Emotions at the Holidays: Fatigue, Stress, Irritability, Sadness, Feeling Isolated
Increased Stressors at the Holidays May Include:
Overstretched for time/money
Pressures of gift giving and family gatherings
Staying on a (healthy eating plan)
56% reported they experience the most stress at work.
Your Bridge to Health; Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind and Spirit
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 –
Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
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.