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'Festival syndrome' hurting many
( 2004-01-19 23:18) (China Daily)

Depressed, a businessman in his 40s knits his brows, lowers his eyes and prepares to welcome the festive Lunar New Year.

For Zhu, a businessman from Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan Province, the festival is more curse than blessing.

With at least two dinner parties every day and much to drink at every one of them, Zhu's chronic diseases such as a fatty liver and cirrhosis act up. Driven by desperation, he has invited a heavy drinker to drink for him during this festival which starts January 22 and runs for at least eight days.

Zhu is not alone. Spring Festival is more trouble-maker than happy occasion for many people. In fact, psychologists see their popularity shoot up during the holiday season.

Xu Lan, director of the Psychology Department at the No 2 Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, said nearly one third more people visit the psychologists during the festival.

Many people feel nervous and fretful at the end of the Lunar New Year or during the Spring Festival, Xu said.

There are many causes for "Spring Festival Syndrome."

Zhang, who works in Beijing and goes back to his hometown in East China's Shandong Province every Spring Festival, also feels the stress. For him it's not drink but money that's the problem.

He has 13 younger nephews and nieces and, following Chinese tradition, he has to give every one a red envelope with money.

"I have to give at least 100 yuan (US$12) to each of my nephews and nieces. Not mention that there are many kids of my friends and neighbours," said the 28-year-old Zhang with a distressed expression. "My salary of one month goes up in smoke so quickly."

Although sometimes difficult to handle, the stress of the holidays can be dealt with, said Xu.

She said too many dinner parties, visiting relatives and friends so often, the irregular way of life and numerous debts of gratitude may all lead to the holiday syndrome.

She suggested people try to keep the pace themselves during the holiday, get enough rest and may listen to some light music to regulate their mood on their own.

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