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    Taking On the New Year's Blues


    "Many folks get intoxicated and put themselves at risk physically and emotionally," says Gevedon. "For someone who is depressed, alcohol is absolutely toxic." Pollack says men may particularly be at risk emotionally, because instead of thinking about pain, they try to cover it up by taking action. In the case of New Year's Eve, that might mean some very heavy-duty partying.

    In the end, this New Year's Eve's position as a marker of time -- both passed and to come -- may be the most emotionally troublesome aspect. It's the likely reason why as Pollack says, the hangovers come Jan. 1 won't entirely be due to alcohol. "Amongst the so-called booming economy, we have more poverty than ever before, racial tension, pain, and heartache ... that was supposed to have been cured -- and we're supposed to be happy," Pollack says. "And that's why the millennium feels empty. And when it's all over, there will be an even deeper sense of emptiness."

    His advice: Make it special, but not too special. Downplay it in advance. Make reasonable plans -- having a nice dinner for example, or making it a point to be with someone you really care about.

    Martin agrees. "Gee, it's the millennium. ... I should be doing something very, very special. Whether that be a cruise to Easter Island or a $500 glass of champagne. ... What I advise people is to keep it simple. You'll have a much better time than trying to do something too expensive or too adventurous," she says.

    Which certainly isn't to suggest you can't have a good time. Just be mindful that two days later for most, new century or not, it's back to the grind.

    Vital Information:

    • New Year's is a time for introspection and reflection, which can be difficult for people whose lives aren't perfect, and this year's millennial celebration could intensify these feelings.
    • With the new year comes resolutions, so people should keep them simple and realistic to avoid having a sense of failure.
    • For those who are down, avoiding alcohol may be prudent, since it is a depressant and can deplete a person's energy.
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