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Blue Christmas: The Holiday Season Can be as Joyous for Cops as for Anyone Else But It Can Also be Maddening and Tragic

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 26 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 36-38
Dean Scoville
David Griffith
Date Published
December 2002
3 pages
This article discusses the added stresses that law enforcement officers encounter over the holiday seasons, both personal and community-based.
For law enforcement officers, the holiday season can be both joyous and tragic. The holidays can be a difficult period for many, particularly for police officers. Officers can be affected by what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the “blues,” or “Christmas depression.” Officers must handle a heavy seasonal workload and can have difficulty reconciling the “good will” endemic to the season with the wide range of human behavior during this “most wonderful time of the year.” It’s a time when officers see increased fires, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, assaults, and fights. The holidays bring a time of emotional extremes. Officers can experience symptoms of SAD, such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in job or family, and increased consumption of food or alcohol. These can be attributed to the biological cycle or circadian clock. The organic problem of SAD along with shift work, create confusion for the body. Add this to unconventional days and the rigid expectations of a spouse and a bad mix for the holidays is created. Tips for officers for a healthy and happy holiday season are discussed.