Vail health: A case of holiday blues, or worse?
The Denver Post
VAIL CO, Colorado
This time of the year, you’d better be jolly … or else.
It seems like the unceasing celebrations began with the first bite of Thanksgiving turkey and won’t stop until the kiss on New Year’s Eve.
So why do so many people dread the winter season, muddle through the holidays, or feel isolated, sad or stressed when everybody else seems happy? And how do you know if what you are feeling is just the holiday blues or something more serious, such as clinical depression?
The key indicators are the duration and severity of the symptoms and whether they interfere with daily function, says Dr. Eugene DuBoff, assistant medical director at Radiant Research in Denver, which is conducting clinical trials on new antidepressants
The seasonal blues come and go but aren’t persistent and will clear up shortly after the holidays go away. A person won’t be magically happy, but will return to how he or she was feeling a few months prior, says DuBoff.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
But clinical depression simultaneously affects the mind and body. Symptoms include loss of interest, feelings of guilt and inadequacy, a significant loss of energy, sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little.
A depressed person has trouble concentrating. And symptoms will last for weeks on end, seriously hinder personal relationships and make it difficult to function at work or school, DuBoff says. He is recruiting patients for a clinical trial to evaluate amitifadine, a new medication for major depression that acts on three chemicals in the brain without the weight gain and decrease in sexual function often associated with other treatments.