Winter depression, which worsens during the holidays, is a risk factor for developing addictions, especially in young people, a specialist warned this Monday.
“Unfortunately, this time increases the risk of people falling into addictions such as alcohol or drugs; although eating and mental disorders can also develop,” he told Efe David Szydlo, head of the psychiatry department at ABC Medical Center.
The specialist explained that winter depression occurs at this time due to the lack of light, as the days are shorter and the nights are longer, causing many people to feel sad, melancholic, or have an emotional “down”.
The nostalgia and sadness that this type of depression generates in some, said the specialist, increases the risk that people will fall into addictions.
“It has been seen that people tend to consume alcohol in excess or drugs to” hide “their feelings because, sometimes, they are stimulants to do their activities,” he said.
However, he said that many times, because of their social and cultural environment, they also tend to drink more at Christmas gatherings, which in the end can be a risk to develop an addiction.
More cases, but more help wanted
According to the results of the first Self-Reported Well-being Survey (ENBIARE 2021) of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 15% of the population presents symptoms of depression and rates their mood with a 5.07 on a scale of – 10 to 10.
The specialist said that Issues such as job loss, having to borrow and not being able to meet current household expenses for food, utility bills, and tuition, in addition to the context of the pandemic, they are the main causes of depression and fall in the mood of the population.
“Although there are genes that predispose people to suffer from depression and it worsens in the winter, it is also true that the current situation has caused the cases of this type of depression to increase,” he said.
Similarly, he said that after almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, people today “are the same or worse than last year”, because it has been a shocking crisis “in all senses and levels.”
“Many people have phobias, obsession, depression, anxiety due to confinement, but people begin to recognize that they need help”
“People are not only affected economically. Many people lost their loved ones, they have fallen ill with COVID for a long time and when it seemed that everything was going to end, the omicron variant appears, then everything gets complicated again,” he admitted.
However, he acknowledged that one of the positive things that the health emergency has brought is that people have debunked myths around mental health.
“This has led to an increase in the number of postcovid consultations, people, many people have phobias, obsession, depression, anxiety due to confinement, but people are beginning to recognize that they need help,” he said.
Return to normal
Szydlo said that in this age people care even more about their health like exercising, eating healthy and surrounding themselves with their closest social group.
“That they begin to return to normality in their lives. That they make feasible plans that they can carry out and that if you feel that they are in depression, ask for support from close people to regain balance,” he said.
And, finally, avoid the consumption of alcohol and substances or do it in a moderate way so as not to fall into addictions from which it can be difficult to get out.