Suicide,Prefrontal cortex,List of countries by suicide rate,Truth,Seasonal affective disorder

Why the holidays can be a big problem for kids

December 24, 2016
in Kids

(iStock) It’s conventional wisdom: Depression and suicide rise among the young and old around the Christmas holidays. The question is whether it’s true. Research over years shows that the suicide rate not only doesn’t spike at holiday time but is the lowest at any other time during the year. A 2014 report by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center said: Year after year, the suicide rate is at its lowest in the United States during the holiday season, but nearly three-quarters of U.S. newspaper stories linking suicide and the holidays during the 2013-2014 season incorrectly said the opposite, according to a new analysis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website: The idea that suicides occur more frequently during the holiday season is a long perpetuated myth…. CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that the suicide rate is, in fact, the lowest in December. The rate peaks in the spring and the fall. This pattern has not changed in recent years. The holiday suicide myth supports misinformation about suicide that might ultimately hamper prevention efforts. It is also commonly said that depression rates in the United States rise around the Christmas holidays. There seems to be more evidence of this, though how much of it is actually linked to the holidays is unclear. The National Institutes of Health published a piece on the subject in 2013 that says in part: As the days get shorter, many people find themselves feeling sad. You might feel blue around the winter holidays, or get into a slump after the fun and festivities have ended. Some people have more serious mood changes year after year, lasting throughout the fall and winter when there’s less natural sunlight. What is it about the darkening days that can leave us down in the dumps? And what can we do about it? NIH-funded researchers have been studying the “winter blues” and a more severe type of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, for more than 3 decades. They’ve learned about possible causes and found treatments that seem to help most people. Still, much remains unknown about these winter-related shifts in mood. “Winter blues is a general term, not a medical diagnosis. It’s fairly common, and it’s more mild than serious. It usually clears up on its own in a fairly short amount of time,” says Dr. Matthew Rudorfer, a mental health expert at NIH. The so-called winter blues are often linked to something specific, such as stressful holidays...

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