Beating the Holiday Blues

Image: Joy Ride by Grandma Moses
Joy Ride by Grandmas Moses

During the holiday season, are you humming “Holly Jolly Christmas” or is “Blue Christmas” the song that keeps running through your head? Maybe it’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” with its wistful longing. Are you surprised that you don’t feel as joyous and celebratory as you usually do, or as you feel you should?

You could have the holiday blues. People who aren’t acquainted with depression are surprised when they feel melancholy or blue during the holiday season. (Those who are accustomed to depression are used to feeling that way any time of the year). But these emotions seem so wrong and out of place at this time of the year.

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From pills to psychotherapy, treating depression often lies in a gray zone

Depression afflicts an estimated 16 million Americans every year, many of whom go to their doctors in despair, embarking on an often stressful process about what to do next. These visits may entail filling out forms with screening questions about symptoms such as mood changes and difficulty sleeping. Doctors may ask patients to share intimate details about such issues as marital conflicts and suicidal urges. Some patients may be referred to mental-health specialists for further examination.

Once diagnosed with depression, patients frequently face the question: “Are you interested in therapy, medications or both?”

Read onFrom pills to psychotherapy, treating depression often lies in a gray zone

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in Children

Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt

Did you know that children can suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? I’m embarrassed to admit that I just found this out recently, after years of writing about mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that can cause depression, fatigue and overeating, among other things, and it is brought on by the change of seasons. According to Winter Blues by Normal Rosenthal, M.D., a survey done by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) showed that about three percent of children suffer from SAD, with a greater incidence occurring in the last three years of high school.

I’m surprised that it hadn’t occurred to me before. After all, if children could have clinical depression and other depressive disorders, why not SAD? Apparently even animals can suffer from SAD. Of course, it’s worth noting that all creatures on earth have a tendency toward SAD symptoms in the winter, but when normal functioning starts being impaired, it’s time to take a closer look.

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A Hidden Cause of Resistant Depression | Psychology Today

The good news is most clinical depression is treatable. Various types of psychotherapy and/or medications can help about 60 percent of patients on the first try, and many of those who fail initial treatment eventually get better too. However, a small portion, about 15 percent, have resistant depression that lingers on and seems unresponsive to all interventions. Researchers honed in on this population in a recent study in the American Journal of Psychiatry and found that a surprising number of these very resistant cases had a single, shared metabolic abnormality.

Read on: A Hidden Cause of Resistant Depression | Psychology Today

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“Fall-back” time change connected to seasonal depression | WTVC

When you think of Daylight Saving time in the fall, immediately you may think about the extra hour of sleep you get. Experts warn a temporary, seasonal kind of depression, can come with the time change too.

When you “fall-back” for daylight saving this Sunday, you may notice less daylight during your normal routine day. Chattanooga psychologist Sam Bernard says that is one reason people could experience what’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Read on: “Fall-back” time change connected to seasonal depression | WTVC

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Edmonds program empowers teens to battle depression |

It’s a topic that isn’t talked about a lot in schools, but the Edmonds School District is leading the way in raising awareness about teen suicide and depression.Two years ago, school psychologist JoAnna Rockwood spearheaded an effort to bring a suicide prevention curriculum called “Signs of Suicide” to all its middle and high schools.”Quite frankly, the kids are talking pretty openly about wanting to end their lives unfortunately,” said Rockwood.

Read on: Edmonds program empowers teens to battle depression |

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Best breakfast to help tackle depression, according to science – Mirror Online

There are a number of studies, including one by Harvard Medical School, which suggest exercise and diet weigh heavily on mental health. Nutritionist Melissa Brunetti, who specialises in the connection between food and mental health, says that diet is still too often overlooked as a treatment for depression.Brunetti told Quartz that food “can have a huge impact on people’s mental health.”Nutrients are needed to fuel our brain. If we’re not getting the nutrients in through diet, then we don’t have the nutrients to formulate our neurotransmitters, our neurochemicals, or regulate our blood sugar or hormones.”

Read on: Best breakfast to help tackle depression, according to science – Mirror Online

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Teen Depression in US Jumps By Nearly Half in 10 Years

A new study finds a startling rise in depression among all Americans, with youth demonstrating the most rapid increase over the last decade. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy found that from 2005 to 2015, depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older. Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 experienced a 46 percent increase in reported depression over this time span.

The findings appear online in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Researchers say this is the first study to identify trends in depression by gender, income, and education over the past decade.

“Depression appears to be increasing among Americans overall, and especially among youth,” said Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., of the Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, who led the research.

Read on: Teen Depression in US Jumps By Nearly Half in 10 Years

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You’re The Worst Is the Best Show We Have About Depression | New Republic

In You’re The Worst, the Ross-and-Rachel characters aren’t just lovesick, they have actual illnesses, with actual consequences. Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere) is a British novelist living in a beautiful Los Angeles bungalow he bought with his first book advance. He pushes narcissism to a critical level; when the series begins, he is living with a housemate, a military veteran with PTSD named Edgar (Desmin Borges) who makes Jimmy’s breakfast and runs his errands without even so much as a thank you. The object of Jimmy’s affection, Gretchen (Aya Cash), is a music publicist with clinical depression who masks the void with drugs, alcohol, and sex with strangers.

Read on: You’re The Worst Is the Best Show We Have About Depression | New Republic

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