Winter is Coming: Seasonal Affective Disorder or Holiday Dread? : Kate Murphy Therapy
Seasonal Affective Disorder is impacts those you suffer for 40% of the year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, Holiday Anxiety, Perfectionism, Anxiety, Depression, Kate Murphy, Norcross, Gwinnet County, Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Counseling, Pyschotherapy
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Winter is Coming: Seasonal Affective Disorder or Holiday Dread?

Seasonal Affective Disorder or Holiday Dread?

Winter is Coming: Seasonal Affective Disorder or Holiday Dread?

Seasonal Affective Disorder or Holiday Dread?Winter is coming. Season change and the holidays. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) generally show up around the end of October and stick around until spring. The darker days and cold weather may cause depression and anxiety which lasts approximatley 40% of the year. Holiday dread while upsetting is typically shorter in duration.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

  • Depressed mood
  • Change in diet; generally more carbs leading to weight gain
  • Fatigue & lethargy despite sleeping more than usual
  • Either restless movement (shaky legs) or slower than normal movement (halting speech)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty without a known cause
  • Decreased concentration & focus
  • Lack of interest in activities that you normally enjoy
  • Anxiety up to and including panic attacks
  • Suicidal ideation


Treatment Ideas 


It’s not SAD, It’s the Holidays

Holiday Survival Selfcare TipsThere is a significant number of people who experience pronounced anxiety, depression, and grief during the holiday season. Issues with perfectionism, financial stress, family, and loneliness are factors during this season. When depression and anxiety decreases with the New Year, it can be a sign that you are not suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but that the holidays are upsetting for you.

Some or all of the symptoms above may resonate for you, however, after the holiday season is over you probably start to feel like your old self. The dreary, chilly days of January are tolerable, perhaps even a fresh start.

If this fits you better, get curious about what stresses you out, causes anxiety, or depresses you from November to the end of December.

Causes of Holiday Dread

  • Anniversary of a distressing event (divorce, death of a loved one, cancer)
  • Tendency towards perfectionism
  • Dysfunctional family relationships (immediate, extended, in-laws)
  • Child custody issues
  • Financial concerns
  • Alone in town
  • Social anxiety exacerbated by holiday events
  • Fear of driving or planes
  • You were adopted
  • In recovery


Take Care of You

Plan home and other events that feel meaningful and manageable. Give yourself permission to let some things go that you no longer enjoy. For example, if you want to skip an event, go ahead. Be kind to yourself at the same level that you are kind to others. Self-care is important including many of the treatment ideas above for SAD.

Start Therapy for Seasonal Affective DisorderStarting therapy or going back to a trusted therapist during the holidays or if you have SAD is a good plan. Therapy can support you in deciphering if you are suffering from SAD or holiday blues. Essentially, therapy offers a quiet space to process what is happening and what you need to feel better.

Call or email me to set up a consultation to discuss therapy or to gain a referral in your area.



For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder.



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