If the holidays have you feeling sad or depressed, I can assure you – you’re not alone at all. Literally hundreds of thousands of people experience “winter blues” or “seasonable funk” to the point that it created its own documentation and acronym – Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Many people attribute SAD to environmental causes – too little sun, too much rain or snow, too much darkness, and even the isolation and “hermitting” that occurs more in winter simply because you don’t want to be out in the dreary cold. But, SAD is also about holiday depression around family or loss of family, lack of love or loss of love, or feeling lonely and isolated.
Symptoms of SAD
In most cases, SAD is more prevalent in late fall through early new year, and can be as simple a case as “winter blues” or “seasonal funk” to an outright and very high risk situation that can lead to use or increased use of alcohol, drugs and thoughts of suicide.
SAD or winter blues first show signs in fatigue, irritability, hypersensitivity, oversleeping and all-around low-energy or a leaden feeling in one’s arms and legs.
As SAD increases, the symptoms grow more severe including feeling depressed most of the day and nearly every day, feeling hopeless or worthless, feeling left out or excluded, and changes in appetite or weight.
The holidays are the most common time of the year for depression for many reasons.
In many cases, the holidays bring back memories – both happy and sad – of favorite people who have passed on … of holiday traditions that are no longer observed … of friends, lovers and spouses who have cut ties … and even holiday moments and memories that were difficult to endure.
Holidays also bring people together who shouldn’t necessarily be together! Families and individuals in long-standing conflict seem to find it a requirement to get together at this time of year, knowing full well that bitterness, resentment or anger is likely to raise its usual head.
Then, of course, there’s the elevated stress around the holidays – the shopping, financial issues, demanding children, increased events, increased cooking, and that whole jolly sheen that everyone but you seems to be feeling.
While most people afflicted with the winter blues think they will be able to drag themselves through the holidays and emerge “OK” on the other side, it’s important to recognize the danger signs. If you or someone you care for …
- Feels down for days at a time,
- Oversleeps or sleeps through most of the day,
- Just can’t motivate to do the regular activities they enjoy in other times of the year outside of the holiday season,
- Turning to drugs or alcohol for comfort or “masking … it’s time to take action.
Please make an appointment with me or another doctor of choice. It is crucial that this very real disorder be addressed and imbalances corrected – and, yes, I can help you or your loved one feel better and ore energetic in a matter of a few short days. Yes, the holidays create stress at one point or another in everyone’s life, but they’re not supposed to be endured or drifted through. See what just a simple shift and plan from me can do for your improved holiday perspective.