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Depression During the Holidays

Summary: Are the holidays really the "happiest time of the year"?
Air Date: 12/5/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Stephanie Duggan, MD
Dr. Stephanie J. Duggan is Vice President of Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer and Interim Director of the Emergency Department at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. She provides leadership for the Medical Staff of the hospital.

Dr. Duggan is board-certified in emergency medicine. Prior to joining Sacred Heart, she served as Chairman of the Emergency Department at St. Mary's of Michigan in Saginaw and Medical Director of an ambulance company that serves 10 counties. Like Sacred Heart Hospital, St. Mary's is part of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit healthcare system.

Dr. Duggan obtained her medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed her residency training at Wayne State University/Grace Hospital Emergency Medicine, both in Detroit, Mich. In 2008, she was named "Emergency Physician of the Year" for the state of Michigan.
Depression During the Holidays
Even though the holidays are a wonderful time to spend celebrating the season amidst comforting traditions with your friends and family members, they can be extremely stressful.

Is it actually "the most wonderful time of the year," or could you be masking your feelings of depression during this time of year?

The stress of buying presents, preparing food, attending numerous holiday parts, tension between family members, and being surrounded by the overflowing opportunities of alcohol... not to mention the beginning symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, can all turn you to a melancholic state and make you want to hibernate until the season is over.

The holidays can also be a difficult time if you've recently lost a loved one and this marks the first holiday without them. Illness, divorce, and a job loss can also cause tremendous heartache.

What can you do to get through this holiday safely?

One tip that could help lift your spirits is to volunteer during the holiday season. Volunteering can help reinstate positivity in your life. Another tip to decrease depression during the holidays is to make sure you're exercising. Moving your body naturally increases your endorphins and boosts your serotonin levels. Lastly, getting out in the sunshine or taking a trip where it's sunny is extremely beneficial, especially if you live in a climate where the winters are long and grey.

If you're starting to feel symptoms of depression, please do not hesitate to reach out for help (1-800-273-TALK).

Dr. Stephanie Duggan discusses why depression could peak during the holidays and what you can do to cope during this festive season.

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