Why Depressed Children May Be Prone to the Holiday Blues

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If your child is depressed or is prone to depression, you may not be surprised to know that the stress of the season may actually lead to the holiday blues in your child.

Holidays and Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but some children are simply more prone t0 depression as a result of life stressors. While festivities may be fun for some, a
depression-prone child may find chaos in holiday parties, crowds, or a disruption of his daily routine.

If your child has recently lost a loved one or pet, or experienced a significant life change, like a family divorce or move, the holiday season may seem especially hard to cope with.

What Parents Can Do

If your child is prone to depression, watch closely for changes in his mood, behavior, and daily functioning. If you notice that his behaviors or daily patterns have changed, contact your child’s mental health provider.

Additional symptoms of depression in children may be:

If your child has suffered a recent loss, allow him to grieve and acknowledge his feelings. Your child may take comfort in keeping old traditions alive or amending them to fit new family dynamics.

Children are also very attuned to their parents’ and caregivers’ feelings and moods. So, try not to let the stress of the season affect you negatively.

The holiday season is all about enjoying and helping one another — try not to worry about meeting unrealistic holiday ideals, and aim for what works best for your entire family

Sources:
Avshalom Caspi, Karen Sugden, Terrie E. Moffitt, Alan Taylor,
Ian W. Craig, HonaLee Harrington, Joseph McClay, Jonathan Mill, Judy Martin, Anthony Braithwaite, Richie Poulton. “Influence of Life Stress on Depression: Moderation by a Polymorphism in the 5-HTT Gene.” Science July 18, 2003 301: 386-389.
Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP. Tips to Cut Down on Holiday Depression. New York Amsterdam News. Nov. 19, 2009 100(47): 26-27.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression? National Institute on Mental Health. Accessed: November 30, 2010. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/what-are-the-signs-and-symptoms-of-depression.shtml