Depressed? So are many others this time of year

Published 3:22 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Whether it is the loss of a loved one, financial stress, lack of Vitamin D during the winter months or getting over the holiday season, depression affects a lot of people.

“The weeks from Thanksgiving through February are times typically associated with depression,” said Holli Casey, Clinical Coordinator for the Clanton Mental Illness Division Office of Chilton-Shelby Mental Health. “Depression can affect people of any age.”

Casey said there are many reasons for why individuals tend to be more depressed this time of year including the holidays that are often difficult because it is a time traditionally associated with family and good memories.

“If someone has lost a loved one, not having that person around during the holidays can be difficult,” Casey said. “Holidays are also a stressful time of the year because of finances. People spend too much money to give their children the ‘perfect Christmas’ and then they get depressed because they have to deal with not being able to pay other bills in January.”

Casey also said guilt is associated with not being able to give someone a gift because of lack of finances.

“There has also been some research shown that people can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months due to a lack of Vitamin D,” Casey said. “This often looks like depression as well.”

Although depression can affect both men and women equally, Casey said women are typically associated with being more depressed.

Depression can affect people of any age but elderly individuals often suffer from depression more due to end-of-life issues.

“Young people can suffer from depression just as easily though,” Casey said.

Signs of depression

Depression can “look” like many things including feelings of sadness each day, feeling “empty,” tearful, a loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities, significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, decrease or increase in appetite each day, sleeping all of the time or not being able to sleep, feeling restless, fatigue, loss of energy, feeling worthless or hopeless, guilt, having a hard time concentrating, being indecisive, thoughts of death or harm to oneself.

Generally, Casey said there are two kinds of depression including situational depression and clinical depression.

“Situational depression is a response to something negative that has happened in a person’s life,” Casey said. “Clinical depression involves a chemical imbalance in a person’s body which may cause depression even though there are no situational things going on in a person’s life which would typically lead to depression.”

Local help

Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Center provides therapy services and psychiatric evaluation to help individuals suffering from depression.

“Therapy helps people in identifying the things that are causing depression and helps them discover behavioral or cognitive changes they can make to improve depression,” Casey said. “We also provide evaluation by a psychiatrist to determine if any medication could help lessen depressive symptoms.”

Casey said the best way to get help with depression is to talk to a therapist or your doctor.

“Some primary care physicians will prescribe anti-depressant medications for people,” Casey said. “Women can also talk with their OBGYN if they feel like depression is associated with hormones or pregnancy/postpartum depression.”

Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Clinic has Open Access every Monday-Thursday at 8 a.m. where new clients are seen on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis and anyone can talk to a therapist that day.

For more information about the Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Clinic, visit or 755-8800.

The Chilton facility is located at 10 Medical Center Drive in Clanton.