Home Blues Alabama mental health providers watch for signs of the ‘vacation blues’

Alabama mental health providers watch for signs of the ‘vacation blues’

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The holidays are fast approaching, and Alabama mental health providers are spreading the word about managing depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to self-isolate before vaccines are available. One concern is whether someone is struggling with the holiday blues or clinical depression.

Dr Matthew Macaluso is studying depression for UAB. He said there are things people can do if they are feeling lonely or depressed.

“One place to start is to talk to a doctor, to make sure the patient is not struggling with depression or anxiety that could be treated. In other words, is there an underlying medical condition? Macaluso said.

Concerns over the omicron variant prompt new recommendations for masking and social distancing as families typically reunite for the season. Macaluso said people can ask for advice if they feel isolated as the holidays approach.

“Another way to deal with stress while on vacation is to increase connectivity,” Macaluso said. “It could be done using technologies like ZOOM or Facetime to connect with people. It can also be done outdoors in other safe places.

Macaluso added that avoiding topics known to disturb family members during vacation gatherings can also help with stress. Last year, the UAB said Alabama ranks third in the country for overall depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in 2020 that 13% of Alabamians had symptoms of depression.