For every gift of the holiday season, there can also be a stressor. Planning plenty of events can keep calendars full. Finances can get thin due to gift-giving and other holiday-specific expenses. People with rocky family relationships can dread the entire season because it means meeting up with people who constantly look for reasons to disagree with them. With everything considered, it might be no surprise that many people face substance addiction risks during the holidays.
If you have a loved one who might be prone to drug addiction or alcohol dependency, you should pay attention to their emotional and mental health during the holiday season. While the signs of stress and addiction can be subtle, changes in behavior, mood, or physical appearance can be indicators of an underlying issue. Loved ones may become withdrawn, show signs of depression, or start using substances more frequently. Recognizing these signs early on can make a significant difference in helping the individual seek the support and treatment they need, so everyone can enjoy the holidays like they deserve.
Holiday Addiction Risks
Holiday parties often serve alcohol like eggnog or wine, which creates a difficult temptation to ignore for someone with a substance abuse problem. The social pressure to partake in a holiday drink can make the risk of a relapse even higher. Furthermore, the stress associated with the financial pressures of gift-giving and hosting events can also lead to increased substance use as a coping mechanism that, of course, is inefficient and dangerous.
Realizing that a loved one is struggling with addiction can have a profound emotional impact, especially during the holiday season. This period is typically associated with happiness and togetherness, making the discovery of a loved one's substance abuse particularly distressing. There might be uncertainty about how to address the issue without causing further harm or disruption, too. The challenge lies in finding the right time and way to confront the issue, which can feel difficult when the holidays are so busy and expectations for joyous occasions are so high.
Be Watchful for Signs of Addiction
Some of the most common signs of addiction include:
- Behavioral changes: Sudden mood swings, irritability, or unexplained changes in habits or routines can be the first signs that an addiction is forming or has already taken hold.
- Increased substance use: An individual may start consuming more of a substance, use it more frequently, or feel more comfortable using it in front of others.
- Neglecting responsibilities: As addiction progresses, people often start ignoring their personal, professional, or academic obligations.
- Physical symptoms: Addiction can cause a range of physical symptoms, from changes in weight and appearance to bloodshot eyes, poor skin condition, or tremors.
During the holiday season, the signs of addiction might become more noticeable due to increased family interactions and stressors. The holidays often involve family gatherings and social events, providing more opportunities for others to observe changes in behavior or physical appearance. Additionally, the stress of the holidays can intensify addictive behaviors because drug or alcohol abuse is an unfortunately common form of temporary stress relief. It's important to be vigilant during this time and reach out to loved ones who may be showing signs of struggle, offering support and encouraging them to seek professional help if needed.
Help & Support are the Best Gifts of All
Helping a loved one who is suffering from substance addiction during the holidays can be a challenging task, but several steps can make this process more manageable. Start by creating a supportive environment that respects their struggles and acknowledges their efforts to stay sober. Try to organize holiday events that don't center around alcohol or other substances. Communicate openly with your loved one about their triggers and how you can help them avoid these situations.
Decision Point Center in Arizona offers a personalized approach to addiction treatment that can be particularly useful during the holiday season. Our team of professionals understands that each person's journey with addiction is unique and requires an individualized treatment plan. We offer a range of services, including detoxification, residential treatment, and outpatient programs, all designed to meet the specific needs of each person who comes to our doors for help. If your loved one’s addiction has been caused or worsened by the stresses of the holiday season, we can take that into account while creating a program that works for them.
If you're concerned about a loved one's sobriety and well-being during the holiday season, don't hesitate to reach out to Decision Point Center. We can provide guidance and support that creates a path to sobriety for them. Call (844) 292-5010 for more information.