Holidays can heighten stress, one UAB doctor provide tips

To people comforting each other by holding hands.
To people comforting each other by holding hands.(WTVY)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:42 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The holiday’s are known for being a season filled with joy. However, for some it can be stressful as many struggle with depression.

To make matters worse, the pandemic has not helped. The CDC said last year there was a five percent increase in adults struggling with anxiety or depressive disorders. Untreated mental needs increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.

Dr. Matthew Macaulso, the clinical director of the UAB depression and suicide center, said the holidays bring up memories and emotions people may not be ready to deal with. Whether it be coping with the loss of a loved one, an emotional anniversary or seasonal depression. Each can lead to anxiety, fear and grief.

Dr. Macaulso said it is crucial for people to get the proper help they need and to lean to loved one’s during this time.

“Grief counseling can also be focusing on things that the person enjoys and so creating new tradition or creating a new activity can be a great way of processing grief because it gives the person something to focus on,” Dr. Macaulso said. “It can bring them joy and it takes their attention away from what be causing them significant emotional pain.”

If you notice a loved one who is struggling, Dr. Macaulso suggests simply talking with them, comforting them, and getting them the proper help.

Dr. Macaulso suggest someone who is struggling to speak with their primary care physician. He said by doing this the physician can rule out potential medical causes of depression or anxiety or any other illness, start initial treatments and make appropriate referrals to mental health professionals.

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