For many people, the holidays and winter season are a time of joy and fun. However, for many others, the holidays represent a time of sadness and loneliness.
And, with the reduction in sunlight that comes with winter, many people will develop a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
However, there are a number of helpful things people can do to help themselves feel a little better around the holidays (see article below). And, SAD is usually easy to treat with light therapy. If feelings of depression persist, further treatment for depression including counseling, psychotherapy and/or medication management may be needed.
So, during this season of holidays and shorter days, it’s important to remember that it is not unusual to feel blue or depressed AND to remember that help is available.
Excerpts from a helpful article called:
The holiday season may also bring financial worries, loneliness, memories of lost loved ones and other feelings of sadness. These feelings are especially prevalent among older adults. But the good news is that many symptoms of the “holiday blues” are manageable.
Although the holidays are supposed to be joyous and merry, many older adults feel the loneliest around this time of year.
Memories of a deceased spouse or other family member may cloud one’s thoughts along with other factors, such as a recent move from a lifelong home or the inability to travel to distant relatives.
Another possible source of holiday depression may be attributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD, a mood disorder associated with depressive episodes and related to seasonal variations of light. According to the National Mental Health Association, SAD was first observed in 1845 but was not officially named until the 1980’s.
The seasonal changes of sunlight have been documented in animal research in regard to hibernation and reproductive cycles, and now scientists believe that these same variations may affect humans as well. Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, has been linked to SAD. This particular hormone is produced in greater amounts in the dark and is believed to cause symptoms of depression. Therefore, as winter days become shorter and darker, the production of this hormone increases.
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