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Addressing the burdens of addiction over the holidays
Posted in Drug Abuse, Family, Stress - 0 Comments

For addiction patients and their families, the holidays can present particular difficulties. Memories of past misadventures, stress brought on by obligations and estranged family members can compound behavioral disorders such as drug abuse. Recognizing these problems is the first step to guiding addicts through the holidays and fighting relapse.

Burdens for those in recovery

David Sack, M.D., a contributor with Psych Central and author of the article titled “5 Ironies that Keep Addicts Sick Over the Holidays,” explored the numerous difficulties of drug abusers during this time of year, such as the aforementioned flashbacks to more challenging times. Sack also said that addiction patients could feel a longing for easier times as well, triggering further frustrations.

Another obstruction facing recovering drug abusers is the stress of the holidays. Some people with mental illnesses use drugs as unhealthy coping mechanisms, and the anxiety of high-pressure events can make this practice extra appealing for this demographic. One example came in a survey by the American Psychological Association, which found that half of women in the United States experience stress during the holidays, with 28 percent of them resorting to alcohol for solace.

Burdens for families

Another trouble facing recovering addicts includes alienation from family members. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers may feel bitter toward or even scared of the recovering addict and withdraw support and love in difficult times.

Cindy Brody, Director of Intensive Services at the Center for Motivation & Change in New York, an organization dedicated to treating substance abuse, explained that some family members of recovering addicts feel concerned about public perception of the family and how it manifests in gossip. The common solution of self-alienation is not constructive, Brody claimed, in her article printed by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

“Isolation contributes to and can increase depression, anxiety, loneliness and a whole host of other challenges that will not serve you well as you are dealing with all of this. Taking steps to add more social contact into your life can chip away…the feeling that you are alone at sea,” Brody said.

Brody also emphasized that reaching out does not have to mean revealing all the deep dark secrets plaguing the family, which could put too much pressure on some potential confidantes. Instead, others can provide a temporary distraction from overwhelming difficulties.

Mental health professionals are often the best-equipped individuals to handle the significant emotional baggage associated with drug addiction and its perils. They can unpack current and past traumas to sustain recovery during the holidays and other events.

Sovereign Health of Arizona provides empathetic and knowledgeable counselors for our female patients. We are passionate about treating cases of trauma and drug addiction for the benefit of patients and their families. Call our 24/7 helpline to find out more.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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