Struggling with addiction and substance abuse is hard at any time of year, of course, but the holiday season, when Christmas carols dominate the air waves and holiday specials fill the TV schedules, can be especially difficult for addicts.
Why would the “most wonderful time of the year,” when everyone is supposedly full of holiday cheer and good will towards men, be hard on addicts? What is it about this period that can be so trying for someone in the throes of addiction?
Well, there are a number of factors that can play into this, some of them more significant than others but all of them potentially driving addicts into further isolation and greater substance abuse through their effects.
Here are some of the reasons the holidays are hard for addicts:
- The holidays are already hard on those struggling with mental health issues. A great many statistics show that the holidays lead to an increase in anxiety and depression in those liable to suffer from such effects. Suicides actually increase closer to the holidays, too. Addicts, who are already struggling with substance abuse, can feel a double whammy from additional effects from such issues arising at this time of year, while others may start to use or increase their abuse of drugs during the holidays to self-medicate against other mental issues.
- Many people grow more isolated during the holidays. We tend to think of the holidays as a time to get together as a family, but that’s not always possible, or even plausible, for everyone. Not everyone can travel to see family at this time of year, leading to an increased feeling of isolation as others in their circle may be gone to see their own families. Workplaces empty out, social hangouts thin considerably and an addict dealing with feelings of isolation suddenly finds themself more alone than usual… and indulging in more of their substance of choice to deal with the resulting unhappy emotions.
- Holidays are seen as a time to indulge in, well, everything. We eat too much, shower each other with expensive trinkets, watch too much TV and rain down a certain amount of enthusiasm, both real and faked, on everyone we see. This tendency to go big during this time of year can hit an addict, too, and they react to this season of indulgence by overdoing it with their favorite party favor of choice via substance abuse.
- Dealing with stress. You’re spending too much time around your mother-in-law. Your boss wants everything on his desk before you leave for the weekend. You’re not sure how you’re going to pay for everything under the tree this year. Stress is mounting in numerous ways, more so than usual, and the addict often reacts to such stress by resorting to their preferred stress reliever via their addiction.
If you or a loved one is going into the holidays dealing with addiction and fearing the worst, help is available. At Good Landing Recovery, their faith-oriented recovery plans can help you confront your addiction, even at the height of the holiday bacchanal, and find a way to true recovery. Give them a call today.