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Holiday Season Depression

It can be especially so for people recovering from drug and alcohol use. The holiday season is not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone.

Experts that work with substance abuse victims say for people with addictions, it's tougher to stay sober over the holidays.

"The holidays are a time when depression sets in, issues that are suppressed in ones self conscious about death or guilt causes them to feel depressed and what's one way of relieving those depressed feelings is to use alcohol or drugs,” explains Erskin Manyard.

Recovery experts say substance abuse is prominent during the season for many reasons, there's the temptation of alcohol at holiday parties, or, the added financial stress of the season, or possibly the death of a loved one that could trigger the use of alcohol or drugs.

There are ways to overcome the temptations to use, drug recovery experts say it’s especially important to have support and stay away from old habits.

"If you have a past history or you want to be sober, you have to avoid people place and things, that means the people, place and things that caused you to use in the first place,” Manyard adds.

Recovery experts say learn to enjoy yourself without the alcohol, that should help on the road to recovery.

Free classes for substance abuse and addictive behaviors are offered in Lowndes County.

If you would like more information you can call 229-245-9223.

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Holiday Depression

Many factors can cause the "holiday blues," including stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension.

People who do not become depressed may develop other stress responses, such as: headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping.

Even more people experience post-holiday let down after Jan. 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with the excess fatigue and stress.

Coping During the Holidays

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

  • Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day). Remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.

  • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them.

  • Leave "yesteryear" in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the "good ol’ days."

  • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.

  • Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.

  • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.

  • Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.

  • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.

  • Save time for yourself. Recharge your batteries. Let others share responsibility of activities.

Source: http://www.nmha.org/infoctr/factsheets/103.cfm (National Mental Health Association)


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