If you’re struggling with symptoms of depression, you may find that they get considerably more difficult to manage around the holidays. While everyone around you is feeling “merry and bright” you may begin to feel even more isolated and may find yourself unable to even complete daily self-care tasks, such as showering and brushing your teeth. For some individuals suffering from depression, performance at work or school may also begin to suffer. If your depression seems to worsen during the holiday season, rest assured that you are not alone. It is not at all uncommon to experience holiday depression.
What is Depression?
It is important to understand that there is a significant difference between bouts of sadness and clinical depression. Sadness is usually transitory and a reaction to external events. Clinical depression is a medical illness that persists and recurs. Individuals suffering from clinical depression may lose the ability to enjoy life and start experiencing difficulty functioning. Depression requires medical intervention to prevent feelings of apathy, hopelessness, suicidal ideation and functional impairment.
Why is Depression More Susceptible During the Holidays?
It can feel especially frustrating, overwhelming and isolating to have clinical depression during the winter holidays. Holidays bring a myriad of added social obligations. It may be uncomfortable to explain how come you are feeling joyless during this time, not to mention nearly impossible to get out of the house and engage socially.
Depression also often worsens during the winter time because of a significant lack of Vitamin D and reduced access to sunlight. The chilly weather often leads to less outdoor time. The change of the seasons brings about shorter days and less opportunity to be productive. Vitamin D and sunlight are critical to maintaining a balanced mood. Many individuals who experience depression during the winter are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD can be treated with traditional antidepressants, natural sunlight, or an indoor sun lamp. Considering more frequent therapy sessions or additional augmentation strategies (ketamine, transcranial magnetic stimulation, alternative therapies) if you have exacerbaton of depression during the winter months may be necessary.
The winter holidays are often an emotionally loaded season. Many individuals spend time with family, reminisce about childhood memories and begin to consider goals for the new year. These emotionally charged experiences unique to the holiday can be overwhelming and cause feelings of dread, despair, and disappointment. While severe depression may occur any time of year, the winter holiday season can be especially difficult for individuals suffering from clinical depression.
How to Help a Loved One with Depression
It’s important to understand that depression is a real illness and cannot be overcome by willpower. Comments such as, “You have so much to be happy about” and “Snap out of it, we have a fun holiday party to attend!” may seem helpful, these comments serve to minimize the depression experience and cause increased feelings of being misunderstood, poor self-worth and hopelessness. Remember, you wouldn’t tell a cancer patient to “snap out of it.” Instead of invalidating their illness try:
Encouraging Treatment: Many people experiencing depression are working with professionals to manage their illness. Be sure to let your loved one know that you support therapeutic intervention.
Staying Connected: Individuals suffering from depression often isolate themselves because of their illness. Even if your loved one declines your invitations, be sure to continue to reach out, continue to invite them to holiday gatherings, and let them know they are loved and remembered.
Being Mindful That They Are Not Their Illness: Depression dramatically impacts a person’s personality. Remember that your loved one is still whom you know and love and that their illness is taking a toll on whom you remember them to be.
Depression Treatment Possibilities
Traditional treatments for depression, like talk therapy and medications, are prevalent and often require several weeks to become effective. Many patients suffering from severe depression may work with a psychiatrist for months or even years trying to establish an effective psychotropic medication regimen. Even when effective, these medications often cause intolerable side effects such as weight gain, sexual impairment, cognitive dulling, fatigue and sleep disturbance. Individuals may be suffering from a mental health crisis with suicidal thoughts or have even attempted suicide. In crises, the extended time frame needed for therapy and medications to address symptoms may not be a reasonable option.
Patients who have experienced acute depressive episodes have found stunning and rapid relief with iv Ketamine. Ketamine may provide immediate, dramatic results. Patients who have been treated with iv ketamine have been able to go from experiencing crippling thoughts of suicide requiring inpatient care to being able to manage their symptoms of depression in an outpatient setting.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an anesthetic medication with proven life-saving impact for individuals suffering from depression. Many practitioners in the United States are currently providing cutting-edge Ketamine treatment to individuals seeking alternative treatment for depression. You can Google local providers in your area.
Can I Rely on Ketamine?
It is well documented that Ketamine is exceptionally useful for treating acute symptoms of depression and thoughts of suicide quickly and efficiently. Patients who do a serious of six iv ketamine infusions often experience remission of symptoms. As depression is a chronic illness, ongoing treatment is always needed. It is important to accept that more severe, treatment-resistant cases of depression may require maintenance ketamine every several months.
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