Post-Christmas Stress Disorder – Signs and symptoms

Now that Christmas is past, I suspect symptoms of Post-Christmas Stress Disorder will be observed frequently (no, don’t ask what frequently means, just go with me here). Be sure to seek treatment at the first signs of trouble.

Diagnostic Criteria for 311.5x Post-Christmas Stress Disorder

A. Four (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same two-week period and represent a change from previous functioning. The individual:

(1) refuses to take down Christmas decorations within one week after Christmas. (In chronic cases, leaves decorations up year round.) Note: In children, makes Christmas related requests year round;

(2) seeks out shopping opportunities on the day immediately following Christmas;

(3) describes depressed mood, more days than not (e.g., sings “Blue Christmas” repeatedly);

(4) manifests vocal tics (e.g., “Ho, ho, ho”);

(5) displays compulsive Christmas related behavior (e.g., Wraps and unwraps presents even though no gift is inside);

(6) displays at least once, catatonic, expectant behavior (e.g., Stands for long periods of time, immobile, under mistletoe);

(7) describes gift returns which outnumber presents received;

(8) is avoidant of references to Christmas (e.g., refers to “holiday trees,” “holiday ornaments,” “happy holidays” and/or “the Sparkle season;”

(9) displays irrational interpersonal behavior (e.g., Calls the time and temperature recording to wish him a Merry Christmas); and

(10) mainfests inappropriate startle response (e.g., jumps or easily startled by video game or other novel noises).

B. Symptoms do not meet criteria for Post-Christmas Adjustment Disorder

C. Symptoms cause clinically significant distress

D. Symptoms aren’t due to effects of a substance (e.g., eggnog, fruitcake, punch, etc.)

Specify (for current or most recent episode)

.x1 Mild – minimum number of symptoms are net

.x2 Moderate – six or more symptoms

.x3 Severe – nearly all symptoms but without delusions/hallucinations

.x4 Severe with hallucinations (e.g., Converses with “ghost of Christmas past, present or future”)

.x5 Severe with delusions (e.g., Arms self to protect against Grinch)

.x6 With trauma associated (e.g., Witnesses mother kissing Santa Claus)

.x0 Unspecified

May we be spared this fate.

5 thoughts on “Post-Christmas Stress Disorder – Signs and symptoms”

  1. jayhuck – Well, one unfortunate side effect of treating PCSD is substance dependence, so we then have to treat that. But God rest you merry gentleman, this does not often happen with proper care. Let nothing you dismay.

    Jag – I will admit that I also went shopping however, my purpose was purely scientific. As a participant observer, I was duty bound to study this new condition.

    Pam – Let nothing you dismay, either. I have been conducting research on this topic for years and it will be released when I get my Christmas lights down.

  2. Warren –

    I am assuming this diagnosis goes on Axis I.

    If so…I’m presently looking like this:

    Axis I: 311.51 Post-christmas Stress Disorder, Mild

    I show the classic signs of shopping the day after the holiday, and refusing to take down the decorations (they have been known to remain until…gulp…february).

    It may require more objective diagnosis…as my symptoms may also be due to the effects of a substance (in my case, severe chocolate consumption).

    It may also be due to untold amounts of travel to be with family.

    Either way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. Oh Wow – I have severe PCSD! Is hyper-vigilance around family members a symptom too?

    Well, if you wont’ tell me what you mean by frequently, how about “treatment”? 😉 Please tell me it involves the use of muscle relaxants 🙂

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