The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year for many, but this isn’t true for everyone.
Indeed, the very pressure to engage in the holiday spirit can drag those already suffering from depression to deeper lows. After all, gift-giving and festive gatherings can be stressful, even when blessed with robust mental health. Add fraught family dynamics and shorter periods of sunlight to this and it’s easy to see why not everyone’s Christmas is full of cheer.
How to Spot Holiday Depression
Changes in mood or behavior are a telltale sign of holiday depression. While it is normal for tension to run higher as folks prepare to take time off work to gather with loved ones, extreme changes in temperament are a worrying sign. Behaviors to look out for include:
- Withdrawal from social contact or events
- Erratic or impulsive behavior
- Irritability or subdued mood
- Changes in appetite
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyed
- Absent communication, including failure to respond to text messages or phone calls
In addition, it is important to tune in to what a loved one or friend talks and writes about. If they express apathy towards life, avoid making future plans, or entertain fantasies of escape, this may be a sign that they are in danger of self-harm.
How to Provide Support to a Suffering Loved One
Often, simply letting a suffering loved one know you care can make a world of difference. When reaching out, acknowledge that the holiday season can be difficult, and that it is normal to not feel joy. Express gratitude for the role they play in your life, and tell them that you are available to talk or simply share space.
If a direct approach does not feel right, you might consider passive means of providing support. These include:
- Arranging one-on-one or small group gatherings
- Checking in early about whether you will be exchanging gifts
- Planning activities that don’t center on drinking
- Offering favors or time
- Graciously allowing your loved one to opt-out when needed
None of these are cures for holiday depression, but all might ease the burden. If you are worried that there may be a need for more urgent intervention, and your loved one has tried traditional treatments (such as therapy and/or anti-depressant medications) without success, you might consider talking to them about ketamine infusion therapy.
Ketamine infusion therapy is a breakthrough intervention that has shown remarkable success in treating depression when nothing else has worked. Study after study have shown that four to six ketamine infusions delivered over a two-week period provide rapid, lasting relief. Sufferers of severe, treatment-resistant depression see particular benefit.
To learn more about addressing holiday depression or to determine whether ketamine infusion therapy may be right for your loved one, do not hesitate to contact us at Vitalitas Denver—a mental health treatment clinic with a full suite of medical staff specializing in this ground-breaking new therapy.