Opioid Addiction During the Holidays

Many people view the holiday season as a time of joy, celebration, and spending quality time with loved ones. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for some others. Individuals in need of opioid addiction help may have a different outlook on this time of year, and for them it becomes a time of stress, struggle, and coping.  In this article, we will discuss the difficulties an opioid addiction can create during the holidays and what you can do to make it through successfully.

Understanding The Struggle if Opioid Addiction

Opioid addictions are not the same as some other addictions you may be aware of. Contrary to some belief, recovering from an opioid addiction is not the same as quitting drinking, or giving up sweets. Opioids affect the pleasure centers of the brain, causing the brain to produce more dopamine, the chemical that creates those good feelings of happiness and pleasure, along with heightening the brain’s chemical receptors. 

This effect creates a compounded feeling of pleasure and euphoria (a “high”)  within the person, but it also makes it more difficult for the brain to recreate these feelings on its own, naturally. Therefore, the user will need to continue using opioids, and the growing tolerance to the substance will require them to consume more and more of it in order to experience that “high” again. This is what makes opioids so addictive, and recovery so difficult. Not being able to fully benefit from the brain’s natural production of dopamine, coping with stress, trauma, or other hardships becomes dramatically more challenging to the person with the addiction. So, you can imagine what this could mean for someone dreading the upcoming holiday season. 

Managing Holiday Triggers

For someone in need of opioid addiction help, the strong urges to use again, or events that cause these urges to manifest, are referred to as triggers. These triggers are unique to each person, so in order to make it through the holiday season successfully, without relapse, it is important to have a plan of action in place to help you not only recognize these triggers, but to also help you develop healthy coping strategies to get you through this difficult time. 

First, you need to be aware of your triggers. Things such as large crowds, specific family members, or too much socializing are among the things you can expect to face during the holiday season and knowing what things you need to avoid, limit, or approach carefully in advance you can help your ability to cope

Second, you should consider an easy and productive routine that you can commit to. Having a routine in place has proven to relieve stress and make it easier to deal with the unknowns. Having a routine in place will prove to be an effective strategy when things become overwhelming.

Thirdly, you should make priorities during the holiday season. Whether it be the many social events, like office parties, gatherings with friends, or special family traditions it is important to know what your limits are in regards to the strong social demand of the holiday season and prioritize the ones that matter to you most. 

Opioid Addiction Treatment with American Treatment Network

Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States, and should never be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, it is imperative that you reach out for treatment as quickly as possible. American Treatment Network has multiple locations for opioid addiction treatment in DE, as well as PA, and uses evidence-based therapy and intervention methods to help lead people down a successful path to recovery and independence. To learn more about our programs, visit our website and reach out to a treatment center today.


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