Depression During the Holidays: Tips from White Plains Hospital

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The Holidays can be rough for those struggling with depression.

Experts at White Plains Hospital say social media makes it worse. And loss of a loved one and alcohol and drug addiction do too.

Dr. Steven Shainmark, White Plains Hospital’s Director of Psychiatry says social media can send nearly anyone down “the rabbit hole” of negative thinking.

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“Its impact is compounded during the holidays. From seeing someone in front of their new Lexus to a party that everyone is at but you, it feeds directly into one of the seeds of depression—an insufficient connection with our peers,” says Dr. Shainmark.

Dr. Shainmark also notes that loss of a loved one is a key ingredient to depression over the holidays, and it’s also especially challenging for those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. “This is probably the hardest time of year to say ‘no’ to a drink. If that’s compounded by a sense of loss and a break in routine, it’s even more of a red flag. It’s important to shore up your strength by getting with your sober recovery support team, especially during the holidays.”

His advice for fending off social media inspired depression:

  • Unplug as much as possible.
  • Employ a “litmus test,” and give children a healthy dose of reality. “It’s amazing how we don’t question the narrative and photos put up on Instagram and Snapchat!”
  • Go do something – serve soup, go on a Midnight Run, do Meals on Wheels. “Helping others gives you insight into how fortunate you are and boosts self esteem.”

Think you might be depressed? Dr. Shainmark says answer this key question: “If I’d have asked you a year ago to name three things that really fill you with joy, what would they be? Can you still take joy out of those things today?”

If the answer is “no,” it’s likely time to seek professional support.

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