Coping with Addiction and Holidays

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Every year, the media sends out the message that the end-of-the-year holidays are all about happy families, fun gatherings, and carefree times. However, the holidays are not one extended scene from a Hallmark Channel movie. Addiction and holidays often come into focus together when families gather and realize that someone is struggling with a substance use disorder or has relapsed. This provides a unique opportunity for loved ones to come together and help the person get treatment for their addiction and start the new year with renewed focus and health. 

Holidays Can Trigger People With Addictions

Holidays can trigger a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Even in the best of circumstances, families that gather together can experience some discord. Groups of loved ones that already have their difficulties often tend to open old wounds when they get together. The resulting fights and fallout can make addiction and holidays a one-two punch that triggers a person’s drug or alcohol addiction to escalate or ends up with them relapsing. 

Individuals who have lived away from their hometowns often return there at the holidays and find that differences between themselves and their loved ones become a battleground. Members of the LGBTQI+ community sometimes find they do not receive full acceptance from family and friends back home. These days, differences of opinions related to politics and the pandemic often put people at odds with each other. 

People who host holiday events and out-of-town guests in their homes often find the work expected of them to be overwhelming. The pressures of being perfect hosts and laying out a spread worthy of Martha Stewart can trigger their urges to drink or use drugs. Not everyone has a reliable, loving community to join for the holidays, making loneliness a real issue for millions. All of these types of situations can cause a temptation to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of coping. Even for someone in strong recovery from their addiction, relapsing sometimes happens when they face difficulties over the holidays.

Why Addiction and Holidays Are Even More Difficult This Year

So many people have experienced vast amounts of isolation during the pandemic that it has taken its toll on them in many ways. Remaining homebound and not being able to enjoy in-person contact has taken a real toll on people worldwide in relation to their mental health and the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol. A recent survey showed startling results from respondents related to the pandemic that include: 

  • 40.9% experienced at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition
  • 30.9% experienced symptoms of anxiety disorders or depressive disorders
  • 26.3% experienced trauma-related and stressor-related symptoms
  • 13.3% increased or began substance use to cope with their stress and other negative emotions
  • 10.7% seriously considered suicide in the previous 30 days 

While vaccines have been widely distributed and many parts of society, including restaurants, shops, and offices, have reopened, the fallout from the pandemic continues. Those struggling with a substance use disorder during this time that has relapsed or feel at risk of relapsing should explore their options for treatment immediately. 

Treatment centers typically have plans to keep their facilities safe and clean, and they understand how to treat those for whom addiction and holidays prove to be a dangerous and potentially deadly combination.

Pairing Treatment for Addiction and Holidays Makes Sense

A person who will be surrounded by loved ones during the holidays can enjoy an advantage that they don’t have the rest of the year. They can ask for help planning needed treatment in order to take some of the burdens off them. Family and friends can volunteer to make phone calls regarding treatment, determine financial availability, and provide reassurances that the person will be successful in becoming sober. Loved ones can offer practical help, such as packing for a residential stay, doing laundry, and arranging things like childcare or pet care. 

For someone who will be alone during the holiday season, it can be the perfect time to devote the extra days off to seeking addiction treatment. Being among trained clinicians and other people newly invested in recovery can provide a cushion that will make their experience with addiction and holidays be the jumping-off point to getting better, rather than a lonely time of year that might cause their addictions to worsen. 

Even if a person is in strong recovery, knowing the holidays come with a risk of relapse makes it a smart move to look for follow-up treatment to ensure they stay strong in their sobriety. Many outpatient facilities offer an array of programs that can help those at risk of relapse avoid throwing away the hard work they’ve done to stay in recovery. 

Addiction Treatment During the Holidays

If you or someone you love realizes that drug or alcohol addiction has taken over your life, make the end of the year holiday season the time you take charge of your health. We provide year-round treatment for substance use disorders and mental health, allowing you to start the new year living a sober life. We offer multiple types of therapy and programs that help our clients leave addiction behind and start 2022 with a clear head and a full support team behind them. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles today and make this the season that you turn your life around. Call us or visit our admissions page today.

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