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Holiday depression, anxiety and stress

GLENN ELLIS | 12/11/2017, 1:39 a.m.
The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family, but they can also ...
The holidays can bring on stress and depression, which can affect adults and children.

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 and insomnia.

Risk factors for depression, anxiety and stress during the holidays include having a mood disorder or experiencing depression at other times during the year and a lack of adequate social support systems. Other risk factors can include recent trauma, life changes, excessive alcohol intake or current illness. Having financial troubles may increase one’s susceptibility to anxiety or stress during the holidays. Stressful family situations and illness in the family are also predisposing factors. Essentially, any factor that can cause depression, stress or anxiety in an individual can worsen these conditions at holiday time.

Even though it’s the holiday season, it’s also cold and flu season, and your immune system is under assault. It’s getting dark earlier each day. You’re eating worse, sleeping less and drinking more. By the time the family gathering rolls around, you’re worn out, tense and fragile. The holiday stress makes it harder to cope with your

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 more serious and chronic depressive disorders.

Go forth and celebrate the holidays stress-free!

Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.

Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!

Disclaimer: This column is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition or concern, please seek professional care from your doctor or other health professional. Glenn Ellis is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.