November 24, 2005

Physicians Warn Of Depression During Holidays

We generally think of the holidays as a joyous, happy period. The period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a time in American culture for much celebration. People come together to eat, sing, share gifts and the camaraderie of each other’s presence. But there is an increasing body of knowledge that says that the holidays are a period of time that is, for many, stressful at the least and for others, downright depressing.

Another incidence when depression may manifest itself is the first month after a delivery (the post-partum period), a time of major changes for women. Their hormones and weight are rapidly readjusting. There may be new and stressful changes in relationships with other children, the father of the baby, parents and in-laws, colleagues at work, and friends.

Of course, the new baby needs almost constant attention and feeding every two hours, resulting in sleep deprivation. There may also be other incidental events, for instance a post-partum event during or right before the Holiday season. These factors could contribute to post-partum mood swings. Occasionally, levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth.

If the moodiness only lasts 2 -3 weeks and then goes away, it’s commonly called the “baby blues”. This natural reaction to stress is experienced by more than half of new mothers.

Regardless of the triggering mechanism, your mental health can be affected by depression. Sometimes depression is more obvious, i.e. the demise of a family member or friend. Other times our health is affected by what appears to be normal daily stress, yet is not resolved, and so the stress grows until becoming unmanageable.

Speak to your doctor if you are having symptoms of depression.

A very simple questionnaire in the form of a screening tool, can be provided by your physician and be used to indicate the likelihood of the presence of depression or not. Only a qualified health professional can diagnose depression. This tool takes only a few minutes to fill out with the direction of your doctor or mental health professional.

A mental health check-up is important for you, and a screening is easy and can be comfortably accomplished in the office of your family physician.

Memphis Medical Services is offering a Free screening on Wednesday, December,7, 2005, from the hours of 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m., by Dr. Robert Schneider and Dr. Matt Cormier. A screening takes only a few minutes and may indeed be useful for you this holiday season. Consider that you spend so much of your time taking care of others. Shouldn’t you be taking care of yourself too? Call 660-465-2828 to schedule your screening.

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