What You Need to Know About the Difference Between SAD and Holiday Blues

Dec 02, 2015 05:00 PM EST | By Denise Valerie Uychiat

There are so many people in the world who always look forward to the holidays, but for some reasons, there are also those people who dread this time of the year. It usually starts with Thanksgiving Day and continues until the New Year.

These people who go through the winter months, including the well-loved holidays, with a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this usually occurs during the time when your body reacts to fewer daylight hours.

However, there are things you can do to counteract the winter sadness. To lift your spirits up during the dark and cold months, we have managed to ask what mental health professionals want everybody to know about being blue this time of the year, and what they can do to lighten up their mood.

But before that, they have made it clear that holiday blues and SAD are very different conditions. Feeling down during winter does not mean you have SAD. According to Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at the Montefiore Medical Center and associate professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, SAD is usually an effect of the lack of sunlight in the winter season. Your body responds to the decreased levels of sunshine by slacking off, feeling the need for more sleep, and a general "blah" feeling.

Holiday blues on the other hand is a situational situation. Dr. Rego said that it's usually the people's reaction to stuff. These stuffs could be a situation forcing the individual to shop, to always be happy or cheerful, or a get together with a person you especially hate.

Although some symptoms of SAD may be that of the holiday blues, they still can't be considered alike.  The usual symptoms seen in people with SAD and Holiday Blues, which people mistake one from the other are: feelings of stress, tension, and sadness. 

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