There are a significant number of people who experience In fact, there are a significant number of people who actually become depressed during the holidays. The holiday season is usually a joyous time of the year with family and friends gathering to share good times give presents and revel in the joy of the season. However, not everyone gets excited for the holidays.

Here are a few reasons why some people experience holiday depression.


Loss of loved ones can be especially intense during the holidays.  Holidays are usually when we spend time with family and loved ones and engage in family or holiday rituals, so when a loved one is gone it is only natural that we remember and miss them during this time.  The loss of someone close can be associated with holiday depression as loss can make the holidays difficult. A person of whom a strong bond was developed over the years who passes away leaves behind only memories that their loved one will be reminded of when the holidays arrive. This can certainly bring about feelings of longing and depression because they are not there to share this special time and or fill this void. Go ahead and honor your relationships with your loved ones by allowing yourself to go through your sadness and grieve them.

Isolation and holiday depression

On the other hand, some people do not have a circle of friends or family that they can celebrate the holidays with.  This could be due to a number of reasons, such as a recent move, losses, estrangement, etc.  Our natural desire for belonging and companionship during this time may be a reminder of just how lonely existence has become and may contribute to feelings of loneliness and sadness. This can provide an opportunity to reach out to others or organizations in the community to establish connections.

Conflict and holiday depression

Rifts between family members can make the idea of gathering for the holidays unpleasant. This can lead to members of the family feeling as if they are on the outside looking in and not being able to share the holiday spirit and festivities. Conflicts may also become more intense during the holidays as old grudges may surface or old wounds may become irritated. Alternatively, families may become divided to avoid conflict.  Sometimes though, the holiday spirit can promote opportunities for “making up”, resolving or forgiving perceived misdeeds.

Overwhelm and holiday depression

For many, this time of year does not represent joy but of having to do a great deal of work. Decorating, buying presents, sending out cards, making plans to get together and all the other work that must be done can overwhelm some people and take the joy out of the holiday season.

This is perhaps one of the most common, but also the most easily remedied form of holiday stress since others can step in and help do the work. But, you have to let these family members know what you need so they can help lessen this burden so everyone can enjoy the holiday season.  Maybe this is the time to involve others in reducing your sense of overwhelm.

Whether you are experiencing the loss of a loved one, isolation, family conflict, or feeling overwhelmed, it is important that you pay attention to and honor these feelings to avoid holiday depression.  However, if you find yourself crying frequently, uncontrollably, experiencing increased irritability, trouble concentrating, feelings of hopelessness, hopelessness or thoughts of suicide, ask for professional help.  Chances are, holiday depression can be treated by individual therapy and medication.  However, sometimes holiday depression is just the tip of the iceberg and a more serious form of depression lies beneath the surface.  In this case, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of depression.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.