How the Holidays Affect Opiate Addiction

Almost everyone knows that drug and alcohol use increases during the holidays. According to the Public Health Agency in Belfast, the holiday season brings out a celebratory nature in almost everyone. This nature can easily become one of over indulgence. As many opiate users know, opiates increase the feeling of euphoria. It is easy to see why opiate addiction becomes more prevalent around the holidays. There are several reasons why this happens.

Depression Leads to Increased Opiate Use

Many people become depressed around the holidays. People who are addicted to opiates find that increasing their dose sometimes lifts the depression. They take more than they normally would in order to alleviate the malaise. Under normal circumstances, some people will take opiates to self medicate for depression. When the holiday blues hit, it is easy for them to use more and more of the opiate in order to stop the feelings of depression.

Holiday Stress Leads to Increased Opiate Use

The holidays are an extremely stressful time for many people. The hectic schedule, family gatherings, and gift buying all add up to make the winter holidays very stressful. When someone is taking opiates, perhaps for an injury or after surgery, their stress level decreases due to the opiates action on the brain. When a person comes off the opiates, their stress level increases, and they go into withdrawal. In order to avoid this they either stay on the opiate or seek out a illegal one to manage the stress.

Celebrations Encourage Drug Use

People often abuse drugs or alcohol during the holidays.

People often abuse drugs or alcohol during the holidays.

Holiday celebrations often encourage drinking or drug use. Some people will start taking opiates around the holidays as a result of an offer during a party or other function. It is difficult to stay away from drugs and alcohol when everyone around you is using them. Once the celebration is over you might find yourself craving more of the opiate. It is possible to quickly become addicted to opiates such as heroin or opium under these circumstances.

Populations that are Vulnerable to Opiate Use During the Holidays

Not everyone is vulnerable to either starting or increasing opiate use during the holidays. It is important to recognize if you are at risk. Since the holidays are a lonely and often depressing time for many, there are some factors to look out for. Avoid taking opiates if you:

  • are already depressed,
  • are under more stress than normal,
  • are feeling poorly,
  • are alone,
  • are drinking at a party or other function, and
  • are prone to binging on opiates.

If you are any of these things, you should speak to your doctor about both your holiday depression and your opiate use. Many people find themselves in trouble with opiates and other drugs during this season, but there is help for those who need it. For more information how the holidays can affect opiate addiction call us at 800-891-9360. We can help you find treatment options before it is too late and your addiction worsens.