The holidays are a time of coming together, giving, and family. Even the term “holiday cheer” was coined to define the holiday season. Jolly Christmas songs can be heard in retail stores. Dinner parties are planned. Vacations from work are scheduled. Hope reflects in the eyes of those who plan New Year’s resolutions…
Yet, for many, the holidays can be depressing, stressful and overwhelming. Furthermore, the depression and addiction hotline Addiction Campuses in Brentwood, Tennessee reported that over the holiday season, there is a huge spike in calls related to depression and drug addiction.
“It could be family members or the person struggling themselves,” treatment specialist Jamie Myers said. “We ask a lot of questions just to make sure that the person is clinically appropriate.”
As part of Myers job, she helps answer questions, navigate insurance claims, and arrange transportation to Addiction Campuses programs. She also connects family members to an interventionist if needed. Over the holidays, addictions and depression can become more noticeable because family members are seeing a relative for the first time all year.
“Maybe they are in school or have been away so these families are getting together for first time in a long time,” Myers said. “They are seeing different personalities they are seeing different reactions.”
It is also a time for people to struggle with depression.
“We get a lot of calls from people who are depressed and we get a lot of calls from parents who feel something is not right about their kids,” Public Relations Manager Brian Sullivan said. “They come home and they are isolated, they sort of shut down.”
Another possible cause is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. More commonly, people experience depression in the winter and feel much better in the spring and summer months. Experts are not sure what causes SAD but many think it is due to the lack of sunlight which may upset a person’s natural biological clock and cause problems with serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood.
The Symptoms of SAD are:
- Moods like sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Tendency to eat more and crave carbs such as bread and pasta
- Weight Gain
- Insomnia or feeling tired even after sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
Regardless of the reason, the CEO of Addiction Campuses Brent Clements decided to release $100,000 in funding before the end of this year to help people who need treatment over the holidays. The money will be available on a case by case basis based on need and will help clients with paying for treatment. The 24-hour helpline can be reached at 1.888.614.2251. There is also a live chat option on the Addiction Campuses website.
Strategies for Surviving the Holidays
If you struggle with depression or drug addiction issues, it is important to be prepared as the holidays are approaching. If you are aware of the conflicts you may face over the holiday season, you can come up with solutions to overcome them.
- Try not to “wing it”– If you know your family will be asking your uncomfortable questions, come up with answers that are appropriate. Do not feel obligated to talk about any part of your recovery you are not comfortable discussing.
- Make plans: Try to come up with healthy activities to participate in. It is important to have healthy holiday experiences. Try to join a group of strangers for Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas movie instead of spending too much time alone.
- Don’t wait until the New Years to change: As tempting as it may be to use the upcoming year as a starting point to overcome your addiction, it can be very unhealthy and lead to binge drug use. Start or continue your recovery right now. Now is the time, not just the upcoming new year.
Overall, the holidays can be difficult, especially for those vulnerable to drug addiction or depression. However, remember you are never alone and you can talk to a professional about getting treatment to overcome your struggles. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva