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Did you know that depression can be situational? A person can be just fine, happy and content, but then they get laid off from their job. Bills become due; creditors are calling, and they go into a state of depression. And then, they receive some calls and have a few job interviews scheduled. No longer feeling depressed, they become hopeful and encouraged. The back-and-forth mood swings are based on whether a situation is good or bad at the time.
Depression can be attributed to a variety of factors, including family history; the occurrence of a traumatic event; conflict with others; illness; side effects from medications or lack of a brain chemical known as serotonin. So, when the holidays come around, it is not hard to understand people that have a tendency to become depressed for various reasons. Perhaps the particular holiday reminds them about the loss of a loved one, a painful separation, a relationship that just ended, or bad memories from the past. Or perhaps, a change in weather or the fact that they do not have a significant other to share the holidays precipitates a mood swing.
“Some people develop a mood disorder associated with depression related to seasonal variations of light known as Season Affective Disorder (SAD). Believe it or not, SAD affects half a million people every winter between September and April, peaking in December, January, and February. When there is a time change, it gets darker earlier and there is less sunlight which affects individuals with this condition.
Some symptoms of SAD are: periods of mania in spring and summer; desire; oversleeping; difficulty staying awake; disturbed sleep and early morning waking; a feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out a normal routine; craving starchy and sweet foods resulting in weight gain; irritability and desire to avoid social contact; loss of libido, and decreased interest in physical contact.
Below are some statistics on SAD. (Mental Health America)
- Three out of four SAD sufferers are women.
- The main age of onset of SAD is between 18 and 30 years of age.
- SAD occurs in both the northern and southern hemispheres, but is extremely rare in those living within 30 degrees latitude of the equator.
- The severity of SAD depends both on a person’s vulnerability to the disorder and his or her geographical location.” (Mental Health America)
When struggling with any type of depression, it is strongly encouraged that you seek a professional who works with individuals suffering with depression and specifically SAD, or a medical doctor to assist with the challenges of depression. There is always hope!
Sonya Waddell is a licensed professional counselor right outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of “Single Ladies: Living Holy in a Sexy World” which can be purchased on Amazon.
Depression During the Holidays