Holiday Depression And Stress (cont.)

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What are symptoms and signs of holiday depression, anxiety, and stress?

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Balancing the demands of shopping, parties, family obligations, and house guests may contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. People who do not view themselves as depressed may develop stress responses and may experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms including

  • headaches,
  • excessive drinking,
  • overeating,
  • insomnia.
Image of areas of the body that are affected by stress
Image of areas of the body that are affected by stress

Others may experience post-holiday sadness after New Year's/Jan. 1. This can result from built-up expectations and disappointments from the previous year, coupled with stress and fatigue.

In the case of seasonal affective disorder or a true depressive disorder, symptoms may persist beyond the holidays or may be more severe. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include tiredness, fatigue, depression, crying spells and mood swings, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, insomnia, decreased activity level, and overeating (especially of carbohydrates) with associated weight gain.

How is holiday anxiety, stress, and depression diagnosed?

A simple history and physical exam may be all that is needed to diagnose a case of the holiday blues. Your health-care professional may perform lab tests or other tests to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Likewise, a full history of your symptoms is likely to provide clues that can help distinguish a mild case of the holiday blues from SAD or a more serious and chronic depressive disorder.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/25/2014

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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?