Holiday Depression: When to Seek Medical Help


November 26, 2018 / Psych ZenHealth

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common seven mental illnesses, with anxiety disorders, next to depression. Latest depression statistics shows that 300 million people around the world have depression. According to the World Health Organization. 16.2 million adults in the United States equaling 6.7 percent of all adults in the country have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Similarly, in 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Although depression affects all people regardless of age, geographical location, demographic, or social position, percentage of people seeking treatment for depression is comparatively low. For the most part, most people do not know the differences between sadness and depression. People continue to regard social stigma about mental illness as a barrier, while others may consider racial and cultural norms significant enough to avoid seeking help for depression.

Whatever be the excuse mental illness generally and depression particularly is dangerous to overall health. The World Health Organization asserts that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.


Depression comes in different forms and can be for different reasons. There are genetic implications, environmental causes, physical causes and psycho social concerns. There are other silent causes of holiday depression such as; financial stress, poverty, failure, unfulfilled goals, loss of relationship, and many more. Depression comes with a sense of emptiness, internal loneliness and isolation that human crowd cannot stop.


The difference between the holiday depression and clinical depression is that with holiday depression, feelings are temporary. However, short term problems must still be taken seriously because it can lead to long term medical health conditions such as major depression.


Holiday depression:

According to the U.S. Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate is highest between April and August. The months of November, December and January have the lowest daily suicide rates. However, despite the lowest suicide rates during these months, holiday depression is a real phenomenon. People are reminded to assess their accomplishment as the year comes to an end, to compare themselves with peers, colleagues and other family members. For some people with any form of functional deficit, they may count another year of suffering. With three highly celebrated holidays close to one another (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New year) the months of November and December becomes a prolonged period of mourning, loneliness and deprivation for some of them. Family members may be busy celebrating the holidays, neglecting to visit parents in nursing homes, loved ones in rehabs or those that are hospitalized.

Social isolation is known to play a major role in depression. Surrounding yourself with love ones during this holiday season is very important.

Family & Friends Support

Families and friends have the responsibility to look out for their love ones during these holidays season. Encourage your loved ones to get help. Be well informed of the warning signs of holiday depression. Some may exhibit signs such as flat affect, drooped shoulders, low voice tone, poor vocalization, withdrawn behavior, poor activities of daily living and lack of interaction. Sometimes, the most important thing we can give each other is our attention or presence.


How to prevent holiday depression

Get enough sleep
Avoid sweet foods and limit alcohol intake
Spend time with loved ones, supportive, and caring people
Do not isolate yourself.
Engage in regular exercise or a short walk
Practice yoga and meditation
Listen to good music and other ways to relax
Set reasonable expectations for holiday activities.
Do not stress yourself with buying gifts
Set realistic goals for yourself.
Keep track of your holiday expenses. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over.

If you’re still feeling depressed after the holidays are over, you may be dealing with something more than just a case of the holiday blues. You should speak with your doctor about your symptoms. They can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan. Seeking for help is a wise man’s decision and not an act of cowardice. Do not hesitate to see your doctor today.
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