Depression rates increase around the holidays

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - What's supposed to be a joyful time of the year full of celebrations can be anything but for some people.

Depression, anxiety, and stress levels can soar during the holiday season.

Crisis workers say that during the holiday season they see depression rates increase dramatically and that it can strike anyone for a number of different reasons.

Out of town guests, parties, finances and the stress of getting gifts for everyone on your lists can bring anxiety and stress during the holiday season, making some feel those holiday blues.

"Use what you have, if you can bake, if you can cook, or spending time writing a card, a letter, pulling up old pictures and maybe doing a photo album, but understand that you have a budget and don't feel guilty around that," says Jenine Fox, a mobile crisis worker at Integrated Family Services.

She says depression can hit anyone and for different reasons, especially during the holidays.

"This is a very common thing, so people need to understand you are not alone and that many people face this, even people you normally wouldn't say would necessarily have a mental illness, sometimes with the stress of people being there, they can develop that depression," Fox explains.

One of the biggest reasons people can develop depression during the yuletide season is when dealing with the loss of a loved one or feeling lonely.

Fox says there are things to keep in mind if you're facing that this year. "Cry when you need to cry, have your moment of grieving and just understand that traditions may not be the same, but accept that. And other tips would be after you have those moments, get out, understand what your limits are and be around people."

Another thing you can do is to volunteer. "Getting out and doing community events, sometimes people have different programs and things in their community, they can volunteer your time to give that love and give that support away and to be around other people."

Experts also say if you are feeling overly stressed or anxious, and maybe a little bit depressed, that you should avoid alcohol and drugs because they can enhance those feelings.

Researchers say another way to cheer yourself up is to sing, that it's been proven to enhance your mood.

Experts say if the feelings of sadness and depression become too heavy, that you should not be afraid to reach out and ask for some help. There are 24/7 hotlines and resources that can offer assistance.