According to the Center for Disease Control, over 25% of Americans report feeling more depressed during the holiday season. The top reasons for depression during the holidays are due to 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 deeper and quicker spiral to unhappiness and sadness. Getting caught in this cycle of drinking to escape depression, and ultimately just perpetuating depression, can be very challenging to break.
Over 80% of Americans report feeling moderate to overwhelming anxiety during the holiday season. Just like depression, the top reasons for these anxieties are due to finances, strained relationships with family, grief over friends or family, and loneliness. Not surprisingly, anxiety frequently accompanies depression. Staying sober in the face of anxiety and depression can be a difficult task. Americans report that there are certain things that they engage in to maintain sobriety during the holiday season. These methods include:
- Maintaining a workout routine
- Eating healthy
- Prioritizing a sleep schedule
- Spending quality time with family and friends
- Utilizing breathing exercises
- Maintaining a budget
- Skipping family or work gatherings that may risk sobriety
- Attending NA or AA meetings
- Taking time off of work
- Taking a trip
The holidays can be stressful, anxiety-inducing, difficult, and especially dangerous for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Engaging in healthy habits during the holiday season can be a major component of maintaining sobriety during this time. Increasing awareness around triggers as a means of planning strategies to prevent anxiety and depression is a practice that supports long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
Struggling This Holiday Season?
The holidays are a stressful time of year for everyone. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, whether in active addiction or recovery, they can be even more difficult. Grief, finances, and family can all trigger anxiety and depression, often resulting in increased alcohol or drug use, and even relapse. It is normal to feel stressed during the holiday season. You are not alone. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a safe and nurturing space for a long-lasting road to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 817-381-9741.