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Symptoms that could warn if depression has become a disability

Readers that emerged from the holiday season with mixed emotions about some or all of the family gatherings that they attended might have great sympathy for a recent article about depression and anxiety around the holiday season.

Indeed, winter blues are very real danger for many Americans. Fortunately, there are strategies for staying upbeat and healthy until warmer months arrive. 

First and foremost, keeping a regular schedule for sleep, exercise and diet is healthy for both the mind and body. Exercising during the holidays can be a way to counteract some of the delectable sweets that seem to be ubiquitous at this time of year. Yet sleep patterns are important for another reason: They are one of the factors by which mental health professionals diagnose clinical depression.

Specifically, both irregular and shortened sleep patterns, such as waking early or an inability to fall asleep, could be an indication of depression and exacerbate any existing feelings of fatigue or low energy. Trouble focusing, concentrating, or even making simple decisions could be another sign of depression.

Unfortunately, those at risk for depression may feel a stigma about seeking help for their potential condition. Some might perceive depression as a sign of weaknesses or condition that’s not worthy of the same medical attention as physical ailments.

Yet a Social Security disability attorney would be among the first to caution that many outside the medical community, including lawyers and reviewing officials at the Social Security Administration, recognize that depression is not only diagnosable, but can have a disabling effect on a person’s ability to work and maintain relationships. For those who suspect they may be at risk, early consultation with health and legal professionals might avoid bigger problems down the road.

Source: Time, “Why the Holidays Don’t Make Everyone Feel So Jolly,” Alexandra Sifferlin, Dec. 18, 2013

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