Holidays Are Stressful and Difficult When it Comes To Alcohol And Drug Abuse: Here Is Why.
Holidays are not invariably cheerful and encouraging and, inconveniently, possibly particular circumstances for those with alcohol and drug abuse disorder. This year, the most challenging for many in recent time, even individuals without identified problems with substance abuse may stumble. While vacations are a basis of enjoyment for many, here at La Jolla Recovery, we know they can cause stress for others.
The 2021 holiday season could be the scenario that facilitates substance abuse, with many people undergoing financial difficulties, isolation, stress inherent to holidays, and already existing health issues.
The holiday season is frequently connected with excesses on top of the usual substance consumption. While the use of alcohol and drugs may bring a sense of stress relief or provide a means to deal with stress, it may result in long-term damage and is related to high physical and mental health consequences.
Why Is 2021 Distinct?
Substance use during the holidays this year will be different, and this is why:
There’s been an increase in mental health struggles.
A CDC report informs about the tremendous adverse effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on mental health, especially young individuals. The CDC reports that there’s been an increment in depression and anxiety disorders, stress-linked disorders and trauma, as well as suicidal ideation. Additionally, 13% of the adult population in the United States have increased their use of alcohol and drugs during the pandemic; this includes people with no preexisting alcohol and drug use disorder may be consuming substances differently now.
More individuals will be solitary.
Because of the occurrences caused by COVID-19, people will probably spend the holidays by themselves to safeguard the protection of relatives and friends. This, in turn, may lead to substance use for a variety of reasons. People may feel that it is acceptable to consume alcohol and drugs when there isn’t a critique of others around them or accountability. Another, they could turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with and soothe the loneliness they may experience during the pandemic.
There’s an “excess psyche” During 2021.
The holidays are frequently linked with excess and immoderation. There’s a mindset surrounding excess — excessive gifts, food, and drink. More drinking or drug use around the holidays can lead to problems for those with substance use disorders (and even those without). This mentality often worsens when we’ve been deprived of so much during quarantine because we feel like we deserve to treat ourselves.
There could be additional catalysts.
The holidays are a catalyst for many individuals who cope with alcohol and drug abuse, even pre-COVID times. The holidays are frequently stressful because of work deadlines, shopping spending, and celebrations, leading to anxiety at the end of the year. Also, socializing with some relatives could bring up stressful memories. The simple fact of being in the house they grew up in maybe trigger. This 2021, not seeing family and friends again may feel overwhelming. We typically turn to substances when triggered by these stressful situations. Cortisol buildup during this season is nothing new when it comes to stress,
According to the CDC, over 25% of Americans report feeling more depressed during the holiday season. During the holidays, the top reasons for depression are finances, strained familial relationships, grief, and loneliness. Depression is a direct contributing factor to increased alcohol and drug consumption during the holiday season. Since drinking heavily and for extended periods affects one’s brain, it decreases serotonin. This brain chemical regulates memory, sleep, hunger, and mood. Therefore, drinking to reduce depression is doing the complete opposite. It causes a more profound and quicker spiral to unhappiness and sadness. Getting caught in this cycle of drinking to escape depression is ultimately just perpetuating depression and can be very challenging to break.
However, help is available for those ready to learn how holiday depression and anxiety relate to recovery. Our treatment programs, including our co-occurring disorder program here at La Jolla Recovery, are designed to keep people on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one is ready to learn to heal from the underlying causes of depression and gain healthy coping skills, contact our La Jolla Recovery team today and complete our online form.