With only a few days remaining for Christmas and New Year, people are going berserk to make the most of the festive season. Starting from decorating the house, determining the party theme, setting the menus and preparing the guest list, people are leaving no stone unturned to make their celebrations memorable and praiseworthy.
However, among the lot, there are also people who become anxious when holidays approach. Known as holiday anxiety, the condition is a common stressor that occurs to many people. Unlike common people who get excited at the name of holidays, people suffering from holiday anxiety feel terrified and emotionally overwhelmed during the festive season.
The symptoms of holiday anxiety are similar to that of anxiety disorders that are characterized by persistent fears, worries and apprehensions. As a result, people suffering from this condition may experience a fear of the crowd and social gathering, panic attacks due to excessive worrying and stress. At the same time, they are obsessed with having a perfect celebration during the festival.
Understanding multiple causes of holiday anxiety
As there is no specific trigger for holiday anxiety, it can occur due to a combination of factors like disposition and environmental stressors. Several studies have identified seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression caused due to the change in the season especially during winters, as a significant factor that may trigger holiday anxiety. Also known as winter blues, the condition afflicts a large number of people. While nearly 4 percent to 6 percent of the American population suffer from win.
As in the other forms of depression, the chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, have an important role to play in developing SAD. However, patients with SAD appear to be particularly responsive to the environmental light in contrast to other forms of the depressive disorder. Beyond that, melatonin appears to be a key risk factor for SAD. Unlike healthy controls, the duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion expands during winter in patients with SAD.
Apart from above-mentioned factors, below are a few more aspects that play a significant role in triggering the symptoms of holiday anxiety in a person:
- Financial crunch: Holidays are all about celebration, which further means more expenses and purchases. However, people going through a financial crisis or running low on a budget get worried about accommodating the expenses within the bracket. The stress caused due to the spike in expenditure further impacts their mood and behavior during the festival.
- Away from loved ones: Celebrations are all about gathering of the loved ones, meeting the family and having fun with each other. Therefore, people, who are away from their loved ones due to reasons like job, education or other factors, tend to miss their family during such occasions and undergo overwhelming emotions. As a result, holidays often become the time when they experience loneliness, despondency, etc. These feelings further trigger the symptoms, such as restlessness and fear of being away from loved ones.
- Traumatic experiences: Many people are afraid of holidays due to some bitter memories connected with the festive seasons, such as childhood abuse, accidents or other mishaps. Hence, every holiday season triggers the memories and feelings associated with the unfortunate event of the past.
- Unrealistic goals and expectations: Inspired by movies, shows and various ideas sprawling over the internet, many people happen to plan their holidays in an extravagant Additionally, they not only hope to fulfill all their whims and fancies but also attain the level perfection in doing so. However, when they fail to fulfill their plans or things happen differently, the symptoms of worries and fear increase remarkably causing holiday anxiety.
Treat holiday anxiety to enjoy festivals
Like any anxiety disorder, holiday anxiety is also misunderstood or undetermined in the majority of the cases. This is due to either lack of awareness of the existence of the condition or confusing the symptoms with the general stress experienced naturally due to the pressure of celebration that befalls an individual. Despite appearing temporary and less harmful, holiday anxiety is as serious as any other anxiety disorder. Like any anxiety disorder, it may severely affect a person’s mood, behavior and thoughts.
If one experiences symptoms of holiday anxiety, it is essential to seek medical help from a licensed practitioner and undergo clinical diagnosis to determine the condition accurately. Moreover, you can seek help from the Florida Helpline for Anxiety to know about the best anxiety treatment centers in Florida. You can call our 24/7 helpline number (855) 920-9834 to speak to our certified experts who can guide you toward the right direction.