Football Withdrawal Syndrome… Yes, It’s Real!

Football Withdrawal Syndrome... Yes, Its Real! image shutterstock 13983727

Is the end of football season a danger to the health of millions of fans?  Well, maybe not a danger that will drive you to your doctor, but it might just cause some very real symptoms like sadness and anxiety.

Dr. Angelos Halaris, a psychiatrist from Loyola University Health System, says the post-Super Bowl blues are similar to the post-holiday blues.  He even compares the feelings to what a smoker goes through when quitting cold turkey.

“When the football season is over and there’s no other game on the schedule for months, you’re stuck, so you go through withdrawal,” Halaris said.

When you derive pleasure from an activity such as watching football, celebrating the holidays or smoking cigarettes, dopamine is released in your brain.  When the activity is suddenly cut off, you feel deprived.

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Halaris offers these tips for hardcore fans who suddenly have to face months without the NFL:

  • Don’t go cold turkey. Watch football on YouTube, or on recordings, in gradually diminishing amounts.
  • Share your feelings of withdrawal and letdown with a friend or spouse.
  • While it can be unpleasant, football withdrawal is not serious enough to require antidepressants or other medications. And do not self medicate with drugs or alcohol.
  • Most important, buck up. “You’re just going to have to basically tough it out until football starts up again,” Halaris said.

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