Despite the notion that the holiday season is filled with joy, psychiatrists have long argued that the time can also be fraught with stress, expectations that go unfulfilled, depression and, for some, loneliness. But for all the talk, studies over the years have found little evidence that depression rates actually climb around Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's Eve. Researchers have looked at patterns of suicide rates and psychiatric emergency room visits. (NY Times)
What about seasonal affective disorder?
One form of depression, seasonal affective disorder, is tightly linked with winter. But the treatable condition has more to do with the short, dark winter days than with holiday stress, Dr. Saltz said.