Doctors give warning signs surrounding holiday-related depression

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The Thanksgiving holiday is normally a time for families to get together and to be thankful. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some families cancelled their in-person celebrations.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jawad Zafar said while those may not be able to meet face-to-face there are many other options to still see your loved ones. You can connect with family by using technology, like residents in nursing homes do during this time.

“I know a lot of the elderly patients and elderly population is active on Facebook now,” Zafar said. “The Whatsup app does, Facetime, Zoom… so being able to set those up for your family members and to help them with that is a significant step to be able to stay connected.”

Zafar said there are certain signs to look out for if someone is depressed. They include if someone is isolating themselves (outside of social distancing), not acting like they normally do, or being irritable. If it happens to be a friend or family member, Zafar said it’s important to check on them, especially during the holidays.

“Anybody in your family suffers from even mild depression… it has intensified significantly during this time,” Zafar said. “Make sure that they are taking their medication and that they are contacting their provider and their therapist as well.”

Zafar also wants to remind those who suffer from depression: you are not alone.

“There is nothing wrong with seeking help,” Zafar said. “That is the biggest barrier that we have with mental health issues is people not asking for help or feeling embarrassed or shameful for the help. And it should not be that way.”

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