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Addiction during the Holidays

Although the wish is often that the holidays be merry and bright, for those with addictions, the merry brightness can be tough to battle during the holiday season. For countless reasons, the holidays pose additional problems to addiction rehabilitation. However, substance abuse treatment efforts do not need to be tossed out the window when the season arrives.

The problems posed to addiction rehabilitation during the holidays are numerous. In general, the season of merriment is filled with free-flowing alcohol at parties, depression is rampant, and families can contribute to a desire for escape.

Holiday parties often encourage guests to partake in alcohol, and for a person in a substance abuse treatment program, resisting the temptation can be difficult. For those in addiction rehabilitation, attending parties can be disastrous without the proper support system. On the other hand, those who are supported may be able to face a fountain of alcohol with a better ability to refuse. Additionally, avoiding parties at which alcohol will be an issue is another solution. Finally, throwing your own party sans alcohol can help you overcome the difficulties of refusing to drink while still allowing you to participate in the merriment. Discussing other options with your addiction rehabilitation specialist may also help you identify ways to survive holiday parties.

Depression is also a problem for many people during the season, and people in addiction rehabilitation are often not excluded from the feelings of depression. Some reasons for high depression rates during the holidays can include: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD or seasonal depression) may develop or reoccur, family issues can make depression more difficult, and financial issues can have a larger bearing on emotional well-being.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people during seasonal changes, and it is often more prevalent in the winter months, when sunshine is more limited and cold sets in. To combat SAD, many people take over the counter herbal remedies like Saint John’s Wart or more hearty prescription medications. If you fear you have SAD in addition to your substance abuse treatment, speaking to your doctor about treatments may help relieve the symptoms. St. John’s Wart has been known to have interactions with other medications, so you always need to check with a healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your regimen.

Family, of course, can be difficult at any time of year, but when the season sets in, many families find themselves reverting to troublesome behaviors. Some families may become overbearing while others may ignore behaviors, or even ignore the existence of an entire person, like a family member in a substance abuse treatment program. To combat the problems that may exist in your family or lack of family, counseling may be of assistance.

During the holidays, financial problems can come to head even more and play a part in depression. The season has become a time to shower others with gifts, and expectations can be bigger than your wallet. Trying to keep up with others in monumental (and costly) gift giving can leave many people even more depressed at the increased debt in which they place themselves or at the inability to purchase costly gifts. Solutions to financial problems during the holidays can be found by setting limits on the price of gifts, talking about your gift plan ahead of time, or arranging a white elephant gift exchange. Many other ideas are available, but talking to a counselor can help you sort out the issues and solutions as better pertain to your particular situation.

Of course, holiday substance abuse is not limited to alcohol. Drug addictions and other addictions may be more difficult to combat during the holidays as well. The same ideas apply to resisting temptation, though: solutions like seeking a support system, avoiding situations in which your addictive substance of choice will be available, and talking to your counselor also apply to other addictions. If you are currently in a substance abuse treatment program, you may wish to address these issues before the season is in full swing.

The holidays may be strewn with obstacles on your way to addiction rehabilitation, but finding the proper support may help you avoid any pitfalls to substance abuse treatment that may come your way. Parties, depression, family and finances are just a few of the major difficulties that could be encountered during the holiday season, so identifying the troubles that exist in your own holidays can help you find your way to a substance-abuse-free holiday. Talk to your addiction rehab specialist today to find ways to combat the holiday season. If you are not currently being treated, however, you may wish to check into a substance abuse treatment center, like the Vista Taos Renewal Center in New Mexico. 

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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos Renewal Center continues to be our highest priority. Due to the national rise in cases of COVID-19, all potential clients entering the Vista Taos program shall be tested for the virus and must receive their results prior to admission. Vista Taos continues to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Health, adhering to the highest standards of care for our clients, and will provide subsequent testing after admission as needed. For assistance in finding the most efficient testing sites, please contact our Director of Community Relations, Jeremy Lihte, at (575) 425-1913
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