The changing of the seasons can bring many challenges to people who are already struggling with their mental health. In fact, holiday depression is something that can directly impact your ability to feel joy, find your gifting spirit, and spend quality time with others. Without the right treatment for your holiday depression, you could only end up feeling worse as time continues to pass.
All that said, it is important to remember that mental health help is out there. So why should you get treatment for holiday depression this season? Read on to learn more.
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Defining Holiday Depression
Defining holiday depression isn’t as simple as it seems. To start, we must understand what depression is. Depression is much more than just feeling sad every once in a while. Rather, depression is a serious mental illness that impacts over 21 million people in the United States.
This mental health condition comes with a lot of challenges. Because depression impacts the way that someone feels, thinks, and acts, it can make it difficult to keep up with everything from personal hygiene to social interaction. Furthermore, depression can lead to suicidal ideation or actions. This shows just how vital it is to get treatment for depression before the symptoms escalate further.
Depression is a mood disorder that can take a few different forms, including:
- Major depression
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Post-partum depression
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Now, it’s important to note that “holiday depression” is not a specific type of depression itself. However, that may be how someone describes seasonal affective disorder.
Individuals with SAD experience depression during certain months of the year—typically during fall and winter, or in other words, the holiday season. Sometimes, such as in these cases involving SAD, people aren’t even aware that they have depression until the holidays roll around. This is because the symptoms of depression become a lot worse for people with SAD during this time of year.
Symptoms of Holiday Depression
If you find yourself having a hard time over the holidays and feeling like you need the new year to recover, you might be struggling with depression. Other symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
- Feelings of loneliness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Substance use
- Changes in sleeping patterns (sleeping too much or not at all)
- Changes in diet and appetite
There are many reasons why the holidays can exacerbate the symptoms of depression. Though the holidays can bring people together, they can also make people feel much more isolated. This is especially true for those who are estranged from family members or for those who do not live close enough to visit their loved ones.
Moreover, holiday depression can be triggered by other stressors that pop up, including:
- Financial strain
- Pressure to drink
- Memories of happier times
- Expectations to feel happy
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that these factors directly contribute to worsening mental health symptoms during the holidays, specifically when it comes to depression.
On top of these things, for people who have seasonal affect disorder, the dark, cold winter days make it even harder to fight off the symptoms of depression. The shorter days and lack of sunlight have shown to negatively impact people’s mental health and throw off their internal rhythms.
Treatment for Depression During the Holidays
So, why should you get treatment for holiday depression? The truth is that this type of depression is unlikely to suddenly disappear after the holidays are over. While the holidays can act as a trigger for many people who already have depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles, they typically do not cause major depressive disorder by themselves.
The end of the year is a time to reflect on the past and reimagine the future. At the same time, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. Without the right type of treatment, the symptoms of holiday depression are likely to carry through the remaining winter months and even beyond that.
Of course, it can be challenging to accept that you need treatment in the first place. It may be even more difficult around this time of year, when you’d rather spend time with family and friends. When you picture going to treatment, you may feel sad because you will be away from the people you love.
However, you will be taking the best course of action for yourself and your entire support system by getting help now.
Adult Mental Health Program
Our mental health program provides the opportunity to better yourself through individualized counseling services. That said, you also won’t be on this journey alone.
During treatment, a team of licensed mental health professionals will guide and support your journey. In addition, you will be able to learn from others through group therapy sessions. Even family members are encouraged to participate in therapeutic sessions to learn more about depression and how they can support you during and after treatment.
Treatment is hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding. This is because the skills taught during treatment carry over through all the seasons. You will be better prepared to handle the stressors that come with the holidays after treatment, and you can go on to utilize those skills at any time of year.
Finding Joy Again at the Blackberry Center
Dealing with holiday depression can feel overwhelming. Though you want to start feeling better, you might not know how or where to begin. This is why the mental health experts at The Blackberry Center are dedicated to guiding patients from the very first confidential inquiry all the way through discharge.
We know that the holiday blues are so much more than that, which is why we offer all of the services above and more. Please feel free to call 888-512-9802 to understand more about your holiday depression and how you can get help before another season passes by.
Original Author: Sara Phillips