Why overdose rates increase over the holidays.
During the holidays, school is out, shopping malls are full of busy shoppers and the days are filled with celebrations. Two of the biggest events of the entire year are just around the corner and everyone is looking forward to the parties, presents, food, and drinks. For many people, the holidays bring happiness and joy; however, for others, it brings a large amount of stress. While most people can find coping methods that will not harm them in any way, this is a different situation for those who are still recovering from an addiction, whether it is from alcohol or drugs.
Stress and the Holidays
The holiday season can trigger both bad and good forms of emotions and stress. There are some people who will cope with this stress by eating. They consume large amounts of food, which may result in significant weight gain. While this is not the healthiest way to cope with stress, in most cases it does not cause any type of long-term issues. Excessive stress during the holidays can also trigger a number of negative patterns for some people, which include the use of drugs and consumption of alcohol. During the holidays, the use of drugs and alcohol are often exacerbated. Stress is considered one of the leading causes of a drug or alcohol relapse and the holiday season offers the ideal distraction for those who are still recovering.
Consequences of Negative Coping Methods for Holiday Stress
According to Surveillance for Violent Deaths, the rate of suicides, violence, drug overdoses and automobile accidents increases significantly during the holiday time. The majority of these incidents are directly connected to drug and alcohol abuse, especially by individuals who are trying to deal with the stress brought on by the holidays. In a study from the Centers for Disease Control, it was discovered that most suicide victims also tested positive for illicit drug or alcohol use directly before their death. According to this study, the following things were related to overdoses and deaths during the holiday season:
33 percent of cases involved the consumption of alcohol
16 percent of suicide victims had tested positive for using opiates
9 percent had used cocaine prior to their death
8 percent used marijuana
There is no question that alcohol is a contributing cause of a number of unintentional injuries, including those that occur due to a car accident. It will impair a person’s judgment and may put them at a higher risk of being injured or even dying. This is not only a danger to the person consuming the alcohol, but also to others who are on the road.
Taking Action to Cope with Holiday Stress
The fact is that there is no easy solution for dealing with holiday stress. It is important that families are supportive during this time, since it can be so difficult for those who are recovering from addiction – of any type. Families can provide support by not bringing alcohol around, reducing the responsibilities of the person who is recovering or even taking over certain tasks related to the holiday season.
However, for some, this may still not be enough. At this point it may be a good idea to seek inpatient treatment. This type of treatment is designed to help recovering addicts or alcoholics deal with the stresses of the season. These programs provide a safe environment that will allow those recovering to discuss their issues and receive professional help to ensure that a relapse does not occur.
Taking time to handle holiday stress in an appropriate manner is essential. For some, seeking outside help from an inpatient treatment facility will be beneficial. Take the time to find one that offers support and courses that will help recovering people deal with stress in a positive manner. When this is done, the person will have a much lower chance of becoming another holiday statistic.