Holiday Depression And Stress (cont.)

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What causes the holiday blues?

Sadness is a truly personal feeling. What makes one person feel sad may not affect another person. Typical sources of holiday sadness include

  • stress,
  • fatigue,
  • unrealistic expectations,
  • overcommercialization,
  • financial stress,
  • the inability to be with one's family and friends.

Is the environment and reduced daylight a factor in wintertime sadness?

Nonhuman animals react to the changing season with changes in mood and behavior. People change behaviors, as well, when there is less sunlight. Most people find they eat and sleep slightly more in wintertime and dislike the dark mornings and short days. For some, however, other symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives and cause considerable distress.

Sadness or depression at holiday time can be a reaction to the stresses and demands of the season. In other cases, people may feel depressed around the winter holidays due to a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression. This is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected people react to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress, resulting in feelings of depression. Although this disorder usually occurs in the fall and winter, there are those who suffer from this condition during the summer instead of, or in addition to, during the fall or winter. The incidence of seasonal affective disorder increases in people who are living farther away from the equator.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/29/2014

Patient Comments

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Holiday Depression and Stress - Symptoms Question: What are your symptoms associated with depression or stress during the holidays? Which holidays do you dread?
Holiday Depression and Stress - Treatment and Coping Question: What types of treatment or coping methods have helped you with your holiday-related depression or stress?
Holiday Depression and Stress - Prevention Question: If you are susceptible to holiday stress or depression, how do you prevent an occurrence? Do you avoid certain activities?
Holiday Depression and Stress - Causes and Triggers Question: Is it a lack of money or the loss of a loved one? What triggers the holidays blues for you?

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