The christmas effect on psychopathology

Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011 Dec;8(12):10-3.


Urban legend suggests that psychopathology tends to increase around the holidays, including Christmas. To explore this issue, we undertook a literature search of the PsycINFO and PubMed databases for empirical studies relating to this phenomenon. According to our findings, the general mood of individuals may worsen and the number of alcohol-related fatalities may increase around the Christmas holiday; however, overall utilization patterns by psychiatric patients in emergency rooms and in inpatient wards is lower as is the prevalence of self-harm behavior and suicide attempts/completions. Following the Christmas holiday, there appears to be a rebound phenomena with these latter behaviors-a concerning pattern that is relevant for both psychiatrists and primary care clinicians.

Keywords: Christmas; holiday; psychiatric disorders; psychopathology; self-harm; suicide.