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Why Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Holidays is Important for Substance Use Prevention.

Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention During the Holidays

Holiday expectations, loneliness and stress can lead to the “Holiday Blues” during the season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Many of us do not understand the struggles those with Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Challenges endure during the holidays. We continue with our daily lives not noticing increased addiction, overdoses and mental instability with family, friends, and those in the community. According to the American Psychological Association, “38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The reasons given include lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings.” This is inclusive of our young adults and elderly. 

According to the CDC, “the most dangerous time of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths is during the holiday season, specifically December and January. Nearly 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month of December since 1999. Those in recovery struggle primarily because “school is out, shopping malls are full of busy shoppers and the days are filled with celebrations. Toft h the biggest event of the entire year is just around the corner, and everyone is looking forward to the parties, presents, food and drinks. For many people, the holidays bring happiness and oy’ however, for others it brings a large amount of stress. While most people can find coping methods that will not harem them I anyway, this is a different situation for those who are still recovering from an addiction, whether it is alcohol or drugs.”

In “2014, NAMI found that 64% of people with mental illness say holidays make their conditions worse. A 2021 survey showed that 3 and 5 Americans feel their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays.



Myth's About Suicide and Mental Health Prevention During the Holidays

However, it is a myth that suicide increases during the holiday season, When it comes to suicide rates, "we have consistently found that the winter months of November, December and January are the lowest, or close to lowest, every year, and there is no evidence of a surge in suicides during the end-of-year holidays," said Dan Romer, research director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Knowing this provides individuals with the tools needed for mental health and substance use prevention.

Let’s be proactive during the holidays by knowing some things we can look for to provide and intervention.


Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention

Some Substance Use Signs 

  • Isolation

  • Moodiness

  • Change in social environment and people.

  • Financial Change

Some Mental Health Signs 

  • Isolation

  • Moodiness

  • Change in social environment and people.

  • Excess Sleeping

  • Headaches

  • Physical approach, personal grooming change

  • Confused thinking or concentration

Knowing the signs will put us at the for front of mental health and substance use prevention for those we know who are struggling in this area.

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