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"Definition of the Holiday Blues or Holiday Depression"

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Updated: December 16, 2006

Definition:
Feeling of sadness, loneliness, depression and even anxiety in and around the holiday season.

The holiday blues or holiday depression may occur during any holiday or vacation time, but most commonly happens during the December holidays when everyone else in the world seems to be is celebrating.

The blues can result from a mis-match between high expectations for the perfect holiday mixed with memories of holidays past, loved ones no longer present and the reality of the current holiday.

Symptoms of Holiday Blues:

  • Headaches
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite causing weight loss or gain
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt
  • Diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate
  • Decreased interest in activities that usually bring pleasure, such as:
    • Food
    • Sex
    • Work
    • Friends
    • Hobbies
    • Entertainment

Course of the Blues - Short-Lived
The Holiday Blues although emotionally intense and upsetting, they tend to be short-lived and subside once the holiday season is over and normal daily routines are resumed.

Also known as: Winter Blues

Source:
Mental Health America. Holiday Depression and Stress. 15 December 2006. <http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF954D-1372-4D20-C80ED0A7AB69D250>
University of Maryland Medical Center. Mental Health: Symptoms of Holiday Blues. 15, December 2006. <http://www.umm.edu/mentalhealth/holsymps.htm>
Dyer KA. The Blues: Holiday or Anyday. September 2001. 15 December 2006. <http://www.journeyofhearts.org/jofh/grief/blues>

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