STATEWIDE – The holiday season is usually thought of as a time of joy. For some, this time of year can bring a lot of stress and anxiety.
Holiday depression can be experienced by many, and the causes vary.
“The holiday season requires a lot of responsibilities,” said Northern Light Acadia Hospital Medical Director of Community Services Dr. John Campbell. “You have a lot of planning, you’re supposed to be happy. There are financial stresses, you have to buy more food, you have to buy your presents.”
It’s widely believed that the suicide rate rises during this time of year, but data shows that isn’t true.
“Studies have shown actually that the suicide rate is higher during the spring and the fall season, but the holiday season is often stressful for people and can cause a lot of depression and dysphoria which are risk factors for suicide,” said Dr. Campbell.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the suicide rate is lowest in December. However, depression is still prevalent during the winter months.
“The mood is persistently low, sad or irritable. The person has a lot of difficulty experiencing pleasure in situations that are normally pleasant,” said Dr. Campbell.
He says to speak up if you recognize someone experiencing this type of behavior
“The important thing is to say something, and to let them know what you’ve been seeing, let them know you’re there for them, that you’re concerned about them,” said Dr. Campbell.
He also reminds people to try and stick with healthy holiday habits during this time.
“Doing your best to eat healthier foods and eat less of the unhealthy foods, stay active physically and get adequate sleep,” he said.
For more information on depression and anxiety, you can visit cdc.gov.