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Holiday Affective Disorder

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    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs The holidays are upon us, which means more and more parents will suffer from Holiday Affective Disorder. Not to be confused with Seasonal Affective Disorder, Holiday Affective Disorder covers a wide range of manic symptoms including overwhelming feelings of nostalgia, frustration and extreme guilt paired with weight gain, binge eating, high blood pressure, and sleeplessness. Sufferers have delusions of grandeur, believing they have the ability to create meals of prime rib and make place cards out of pine cones while hosting family, friends, random neighbors, stranded co-workers, and pets, while also wearing an infant and taking care of hyperactive children. Oftentimes, people detach from reality, believing they can actually create a perfect holiday. Sound familiar? Here’s how to recognize the signs and get help …

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    1: Mania

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs When you have taken 1,200 photos of your children fighting, frowning, and closing their eyes in front of the fireplace for your holiday card, it’s time to stop. Make a collage of the most ridiculous combinations and use this as your card. Your friends (unlike your kids) will smile when they receive it, and isn’t that the point of the holidays — spreading good cheer?

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    2: Poor hygiene

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs Who has time to wash and dry those tresses when you’re busy making a North Pole diorama with your children? If there’s glitter in your hair left over from that madcap winter wonderland, just rock, stop and shop and let it be. What’s a little glitter on your pillowcase?

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    3: Binge eating

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs While preparing pigs in blankets or canapés or eight-dozen cookies for the cookie swap, of course you’re going to pick here and there. And of course you’re going to gain weight. But you have choices! Depending on your audience, stock up on Spanx or elasticized pants. You’ll be able to eat to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content.

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    4: Sleeplessness

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs When are you ever going to find the time to hide all those presents and wrap them to perfection in secret? Just staring at your growing collection of wrapping paper and ribbons is causing you to have nightmares in which your kids come downstairs on Christmas morning only to find you still wrapping gifts that Santa supposedly left. Do yourself a favor and shove those gifts in bags and plop ready-made bows on them. You’ll avoid paper cuts and you’ll save trees (and maybe even your sanity).

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    5: Extreme guilt

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs It’s December and there’s an elf on the shelf so the kids will behave throughout a long holiday dinner on china plates and engage older relatives in conversation. What?! Snap out of it. Put those children at a kids table in the other room. We all know trees that fall when no one’s there make a sound; If a child puts mashed potatoes on his sister’s head when no adult is there, did it happen? Not as far as we know.

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    6: Frustration

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs You can only talk about the cranberry sauce for so long. If the conversation gets heated, play a drinking game with your closest ally: Each time Uncle Lou says something offensive, take a sip of wine.

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    7: High blood pressure

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs You know you’re an adult and it’s not about you anymore, but come on, we all want something shiny under the tree with our name on it. You get all excited to see what your mother-in-law/partner/parent got you this year — only to open a new iron. Just explain away the cause of your tears as sheer happiness that everyone is together again.

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    8: The prognosis

    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signs While the exact cause is unknown, some theorize our materialistic society and/or Martha Stewart is to blame. The disorder affects women (98%) more than men (2%). At this time, there is no FDA-approved treatment and there is no cure. Promising research shows that going to the Caribbean in lieu of celebrating the holidays at home may ease symptoms. Those suffering from H.A.D. often can’t help themselves; they need others around them to lend a helping hand.

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    Holiday Affective Disorder: how to recognize the signsRemember:

    If it can be cooked, it can be cooked by someone else.

    If it can be sewed, it can be glue-gunned.

    If it can be made, it can be bought on Etsy.

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