“Holiday blues” happen every year, but the COVID-19 pandemic can add to anxiety and depression.
Although many people look forward to the Christmas vacations, “the most wonderful time of the year” is not without its fair share of stress. This season can cause an increase in anxiety and depressive disorders for some people and exacerbate existing mental health problems. Given the ongoing pandemic, there is no doubt that the holidays will go differently, and social isolation will do its work.
Although suicide rates may decline during the holidays, the majority of the general population will be dealing with increased feelings of stress, anxiety or “holiday moping.” In addition, a study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 24% of people with mental illness say their condition worsens greatly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Another 40 percent of those surveyed experienced a slight deterioration in their conditions.
“The vacations are usually a difficult time for some people, and part of that has to do with expectations and advertisements for idyllic happy families. This year there is already more anxiety, depression, trauma and substance use — even before the holidays. A lot of it has to do with increased isolation and feelings of loneliness,” National Alliance for Mental Illness physician Ken Duckworth told HuffPost.