Listen to “TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE HOLIDAYS WHEN COPING WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION” on Spreaker.
The holiday season can be a joyous time of year, but it can also be a stressful time for many people. Whether it’s financial worries over a long gift list, anxiety about difficult family dynamics, exhaustion from juggling a hectic schedule, or loneliness being apart from loved ones due to these unprecedented times, emotions are often heightened at this time of year and mood changes are common.1
Even people with no history of mental illness may feel confused about whether they are experiencing the temporary feelings of “depression” associated with the “holiday blues” or if symptoms may be something more serious that should be discussed with their healthcare provider.
And for the 1 in 5 Americans who are living with pre-existing mental health conditions, research shows that the holidays can be particularly challenging.2 In fact, 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.1
This can be especially true for people who struggle with certain mental health conditions that can be exacerbated by stress. For those living with bipolar I disorder, for example, stress, sleep disruption, and heightened emotional reactions to their environment—all common around “the most wonderful time of the year”—can trigger both manic and depressive episodes,3,4 so it’s important that people work to manage stress and monitor symptoms closely.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Jessica Whelan, discusses why the holiday season can be particularly challenging for people living with mental health conditions like bipolar I disorder, the difference between holiday blues and bipolar I disorder, and a treatment option people living with bipolar I disorder can discuss with their doctors.
Dr. Jessica Whelan is a compensated spokesperson for AbbVie.
1. Mental Health and The Holiday Blues. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues. Accessed November 17, 2020.
2. Mental Health By the Numbers. NAMI.org. https://www.nami.org/mhstats. Accessed November 17, 2020.
3. Bipolar Disorder. NAMI.org. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder. Accessed November 17, 2020.
4. Bipolar disorder. medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/bipolar-disorder/#causes. Published August 18, 2020. Accessed November 17, 2020.
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