According to the Center for Disease Control, over 25% of Americans report feeling more depressed or anxious during the holiday season. The top reasons for depression and anxiety during the holidays are finances, strained familial relationships, grief, and loneliness. Both depression and anxiety directly contribute to increased alcohol and drug consumption during the holiday season. Since drinking heavily and for extended periods affects one’s brain, it decreases serotonin. This brain chemical regulates memory, sleep, hunger, and mood. Therefore, drinking to reduce depression or anxiety is doing the complete opposite. It causes a deeper and quicker spiral to unhappiness and sadness. Getting caught in this cycle of drinking to escape depression is ultimately just perpetuating depression and can be very challenging to break.

However, help is available for those who are ready to learn how holiday depression and anxiety relate to recovery. At Fort Behavioral Health, all of our treatment programs, including our anxiety treatment program and co-occurring disorder treatment program, are designed to keep people on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one is ready to learn to heal from the underlying causes of depression and anxiety and gain healthy coping skills, contact our Fort Behavioral Health team today by calling 844.332.1807 or completing our online form.

Understanding Depression and Anxiety

The term depression is used to categorize a number of conditions known as mood disorders. These mood disorders cause disruptions in how extreme your feelings are, and how high or low your overall mood is. Some examples of these common mood disorders are bipolar disorder, clinical depression, persistant depressive disorder, and postpartum depression which generally occurs in women who have recently given birth. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, and sadness
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Social isolation
  • Restlessness, agitation, and irritability
  • Sleeping in excess or insomnia, both resulting in fatigue
  • Excessive hunger or loss of appetite with weight gain or loss
  • Suicidal thoughts, ideation, or attempts 

On the other hand, anxiety is a chronic and intense worry or fear about everyday situations. In severe cases, as with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or obesessive-compulsive disorder, this severe and ongoing anxiety can begin to interfere with your ability function in daily life. Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling anxious, nervous, or tense with an inability to regulate these emotions
  • A sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing, hyperventilating 
  • Feeling tired or fatigued but not being able to sleep
  • Sweating, trembling, or trouble concentrating
  • Chronic stomach/GI issues  
  • Avoidance of anything that might trigger anxiety or anxious thoughts, leading to social isolation

It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety can affect anyone of any age or circumstance, not just individuals struggling with addiction. Dealing with depression and anxiety on top of addiction or while trying to maintain sobriety can be very challenging, but there is help. There are many ways to manage and heal from your depression and anxiety, but it will happen in stages, and as with anything else, recovery is not linear.

How Holiday Depression and Anxiety Relate to Recovery

Over 80% of Americans report feeling moderate to overwhelming anxiety during the holiday season. Like depression, the top reasons for these anxieties are finances, strained relationships with family, grief over friends or family, and loneliness. Not surprisingly, anxiety frequently accompanies depression. Staying sober in the face of anxiety and depression can be difficult. But, those who learn how holiday depression and anxiety relate to recovery have a higher chance of maintaining sobriety throughout the holidays and into the new year.

Tips to Maintain Sobriety During the Holidays

Our Fort Behavioral Health team has discovered many tips people use to maintain sobriety during the holidays. Some of these tips include:

  • Maintaining a workout routine
  • Eating healthy
  • Prioritizing a sleep schedule
  • Spending quality time with family and friends
  • Meditating
  • Utilizing breathing exercises
  • Skipping family or work gatherings that may risk sobriety
  • Attending NA or AA meetings
  • Taking time off of work
  • Taking a trip

The holidays can be stressful, anxiety-inducing, complicated, and especially dangerous for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Engaging in healthy habits during the holiday season can be a significant component of maintaining sobriety during this time. Increasing awareness around triggers as a means of planning strategies to prevent anxiety and depression is a practice that supports long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Addiction Therapy Programs at Fort Behavioral Health

Our Fort Behavioral Health team recognizes that addiction may result from trauma, mental health disorders, or both. That’s why we proudly provide a range of addiction therapy options to address and begin to heal these issues. Once people immerse themselves in addiction therapy programs, they are making the best choice for their recovery.

Our addiction therapy programs include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy program
  • Dialectical behavior therapy program
  • Somatic experiencing program
  • Motivational interviewing program
  • Trauma therapy program
  • Co-occurring disorder treatment program

Turn to Fort Behavioral Health for Support with Addiction During the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time of year for everyone. They can be even more difficult if you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, whether in active addiction or recovery. Grief, finances, and family can all trigger anxiety and depression, often resulting in increased alcohol or drug use and even relapse. It is normal to feel stressed during the holiday season. You are not alone.

At Fort Behavioral Health, we offer a safe and nurturing space for a long-lasting road to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 844.332.1807 or complete our online contact form.


Get Help Today!

You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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