‘Blue Monday’: The most depressing day of the year?

‘Blue Monday’: The most depressing day of the year?

Having Monday blues is probably a global phenomenon. But did you know that the third Monday of January, also christened as ‘Blue Monday’, is the most melancholy day of the year? British psychologist Cliff Arnall has claimed to have developed a formula to predict the sad date.

According to a news article published by the BBC in March 2013, the concept of ‘Blue Monday’ was floated through a press release in 2005 by a travel company called Sky Travel based on an equation defined by Dr. Arnall. The equation took into account the January weather, the amount of debt a person has after Christmas and his ability to pay it off on payday, levels of motivation and the need to take action, and how long it was since people had broken New Year’s resolutions.

However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that only one day can be so depressing out of the 365 days in a given year. In fact, Arnall himself has admitted that his equation is not particularly accurate or helpful. An equation, like any other predictions, might look good, but psychologists doing research reiterate the fact that human emotions, actions and behavior cannot be predicted by mere equations.

Since ‘Blue Monday’ is all about depression, let’s understand the problems related to one of the most common mental disorders in human history.

Depression among humans

For many, every other day can be equally depressing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO; 2010), major depression also carries the heaviest burden of disability among mental and behavioral disorders, affecting around 350 million people of all ages globally. It states that in 2014 an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 6.7 percent of the American adults.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression, and young adults aged 18-25 are 60 percent more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older.

Prevalent causes and symptoms of depression

There is no singular cause of depression. It can be triggered, or it may occur spontaneously without being associated with a life crisis, physical illness or other risk. Scientists believe several factors contribute to cause depression and most likely are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Some traumatic experiences like a death of a loved one, a failed relationship, financial crisis; genetic inheritance of suicidal tendencies and mood disorders; brain structure of individuals; or other medical and addictive conditions like sleep disturbances, medical illness, substance abuse etc. can be the cause of depression.

Different types of symptoms can be prevalent for depression altogether. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms may vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Some of the visible signs of depression are:

  • Persistent sad or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends

Remedial treatment procedures

Depression is not limited to being sad or unhappy due to some upheaval in life. It can be chronic and a serious mental health issue. A proper recovery plan with medication and therapies can treat depression in a proactive manner. Psychological therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and other counseling therapies can work wonders for depression. Medication also helps in controlling mood swings in a depressed individual.

Depression can occur to anyone. If you or your loved one is battling with depression issues, seek the help of a medical expert immediately. An early diagnosis can help you recover better. Sovereign Mental Health Services is a pioneer in treating patients suffering from this disorder with customized treatment plans and therapies. For assistance, please call on the 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529.

Don’t wait for a ‘Blue Monday’ to experience the ultimate effect of depression on your mental and physical health. Seek the help of an expert if you see even minimal signs of being depressed.

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