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Ask Stanford Med: David Spiegel taking questions on holiday stress and depression

Ask Stanford Med: David Spiegel taking questions on holiday stress and depression

The holiday season is fast approaching; soon we’ll be sitting down at the table for Thanksgiving feasts, gathering and sharing gifts with loved ones, and raising a glass to toast the New Year. While holidays are often joyful occasions, the time can also raise stress levels as we try to find time in our already-busy schedules to prepare elaborate meals, wrap presents and travel to visit family. Factor in winter’s short, dark days, inclement weather and the high emotions that can run when we’re around family, and it’s no wonder the holidays are often fraught with feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness.

Now is the time to take action to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. To help you keep calm and carry on, we’ve asked David Spiegel, MD, director of the Stanford Center for Stress and Health and medical director of the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, to respond to your questions about managing stress and depression.

Spiegel is internationally known for his work in gauging the effects of the mind on physical health. During his career, he has authored more than 500 research papers and chapters in scientific journals and books and has won numerous awards for his research on stress and health.

Questions can be submitted to Spiegel by either sending a tweet that includes the hashtag #AskSUMed or posting your question in the comments section below. We’ll collect questions until Friday (Nov. 9) at 5 PM Pacific time.

When submitting questions, please abide by the following ground rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful to the person answering your questions
  • Be respectful to one another in submitting questions
  • Do not monopolize the conversation or post the same question repeatedly
  • Kindly ignore disrespectful or off topic comments
  • Know that Twitter handles and/or names may be used in the responses

Spiegel will respond to a selection of the questions submitted, but not all of them, in a future entry on Scope.

Finally – and you may have already guessed this – an answer to any question submitted as part of this feature is meant to offer medical information, not medical advice. These answers are not a basis for any action or inaction, and they’re also not meant to replace the evaluation and determination of your doctor, who will address your specific medical needs and can make a diagnosis and give you the appropriate care.

Previously: David Spiegel discusses the healing properties of hypnosis, Emotional, social support crucial for cancer patients, How to stay fit and active this holiday season, Stanford study shows depression symptoms may predict breast cancer survival and Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel’s path west
Photo by matt

8 Responses to “ Ask Stanford Med: David Spiegel taking questions on holiday stress and depression ”

  1. DeniseSBecker Says:

    do you believe nightmares and night horrors associated with PTSD can be helped with hynosis.. I’m tired of taking anti-anxiety pills to sleep (clonazepam).

  2. James Says:

    Is it true that suicide decreases during the holidays? Wouldn’t that be an argument that depression decreases during holidays — especially considering the decreased sunlight?

  3. L. Reed Says:

    What are some signs that seasonal depression could be part of a larger mental health concern?

  4. Dave P. Says:

    Research shows that when it comes to long-term health how you react to stress is really want matters. Limiting sources of stress seems nearly impossible during the holidays, could you share some tips for how to better deal with stress and potentially reduce its negative health affects?

  5. Henry C. Luergo Says:

    These questions are connected to the issue of holiday season suicides.

    Do you know if violent crime rates increase or decrease during the holiday season? Does the average number of mass shootings go up or down?

    I want to better understand the effect of the holiday season on mentally ill people and opportunistic offenders.

  6. Chelle Says:

    What are your thoughts on studies showing that treating Vitamin D deficiency can improve moderate or severe depression? Are oral Vitamin D replacement therapy and light therapy equally effective treatment options?

  7. Serena Says:

    What does the scientific evidence indicate about the effectiveness of using natural remedies, such as fish oil, Vitamin B6 or St. John’s Wort, to treat seasonal stress and/or depression?

  8. D. Scott Says:

    Regarding depression, specifically Bipolar I, are there any new studies on alternative medicine as a treatment?

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