Opioid use throughout the holiday season is an increasingly large problem in areas throughout the country, particularly in the northern states. This is because the dreary weather combined with financial concerns and family pressures creates a situation in which people want an escape. People then turn to the escapism that alcohol and drugs offer.


Emotional Health Problems Contribute to Substance Abuse


The strong negative emotions people experience during the winter months prompt them to turn to opioid drugs as a means of self-medicating. The drug stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, giving the individual a euphoric sensation. However, their feelings of depression and anxiety will return once the drug wears off. This prompts them to use the drug again. The interval between taking the drug and feeling the need for a new dose will grow shorter over time due to the brain building up a tolerance to the chemicals in the drug. Before long, an addiction has developed, and the individual needs to maintain those doses to keep from feeling the side effects of withdrawal.


Look for Alternatives to Substance Abuse This Holiday Season


If you experience anxiety or depressive episodes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to begin seeking help.  Help can be through a crisis line or a call into a local therapist or member of your church. A professional can help you address your emotional health issues through a variety of types of therapy, including behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapy. They may also prescribe medication that will treat your problems without subjecting you to the cycle of addiction caused by opioid drugs. 


Additionally, there are many ways you can prevent yourself from turning to substance abuse this holiday season. You should begin by creating a holiday spending budget that will keep you from falling deeper into debt. You can limit the time you spend with your extended family to keep stressful conversations at a minimum. It’s also wise to take time out of each day to engage in exercise and relaxation routines to help you alleviate your stress.


Throughout the winter months, look for ways to make each day a little better. It’s perfectly acceptable for you to do things that support your happiness and good mental health. People take on too many obligations through the holiday season until they feel so stressed that alcohol and drug use seems like the only escape. It’s essential to take self-care measures before you reach that point.