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- Holiday depression, anxiety, and stress facts
- What causes the holiday blues?
- Is the environment and reduced daylight a factor in wintertime sadness?
- What are symptoms and signs of holiday depression, anxiety, and stress?
- How is holiday anxiety, stress, and depression diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for holiday depression, anxiety, and stress?
- Can holiday anxiety, stress, and depression be prevented?
Quick GuideHoliday Travel Pictures Slideshow: 7 Tips to Make It Less Stressful
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
- unrealistic expectations,
- financial stress,
- the inability to be with one's family and friends,
- In addition to sadness, many people feel holiday anxiety or stress, particularly when they feel unable to cope with the demands upon them.
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.