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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

 

Post Christmas Stress Disorder (PCSD)

With the Christmas season upon us, I felt it would be a public service to provide the signs and symptoms of a common but not well-researched malady known as Post-Christmas Stress Disorder. Be warned and well.

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.

(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) depressed mood, more days than not (e.g., sings "Blue Christmas" repeatedly);

(4) vocal tics (e.g., "Ho, ho, ho");

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

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

(7) gift returns outnumber presents;

(8) avoidant of references to Christmas (e.g., refers to "holiday trees," "holiday ornaments," or "the Sparkle season;"

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

(10) 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.

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