Health Magazine

Have a Smart Christmas and a Harm-Reduced New Year

By Dirkh @dirk57

Have a Smart Christmas and a Harm-Reduced New Year Thoughts on addiction and the holidays.
Addiction During the Holidays: Recovered or Not, It’s Important to be Prepared 
[Adi Jaffe, Psychology Today]
“The holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Between gift-giving, travel, and keeping up with all parts of the ever-complicated modern family unit, nearly anyone can find themselves driven towards the nearest coping mechanism, whatever that may be….”
The Season to be Jolly Careful 
[Paula Goodyer, Sydney Morning Herald]
“More parties, more time with family and less time at work help make Christmas special, but these ingredients can also make it harder for anyone trying to rein in their eating, drinking or drug use….”
Families and Addiction: Surviving the Season of Stress
[Christina Reardon, Social Work Today]
“The holidays usually evoke images of family bliss: —Uncle Joe carving up a big turkey for a traditional family dinner, Aunt Mary bestowing her wonderful gifts, Grandmom sharing cherished stories with the children. The reality is that this dreamy scene usually is nothing more than that—a dream. For many families, the holidays can be a time of great anguish, strife, and overindulgent behavior that is later regretted….”
Addiction and the Holidays
[Danielle B. Grossman, PsychCentral]
“Ah, the holidays: Candy canes, cozy slippers, festive lights, family peace, marital joy, and grateful children. Or not. The holidays are stressful. There are the challenges of too much family, not enough family, not enough money, continual exposure to food and alcohol, and perhaps worst of all, the gap between our actual life and our fantasy life….”
Rehab for the Holidays
[Nic Sheff, The Fix]
“It’s no big revelation to say that the holidays can fucking suck—and that being around family can be stressful as hell….”
Tips for Preventing the Holiday Blues, Staying Sober
“Most people know the holidays can be a period of emotional highs and lows. Loneliness, anxiety, happiness and sadness are common feelings, sometimes experienced in startling succession. The bad news is the holiday blues can trigger relapse for people recovering from alcoholism and other drug addiction. The good news is the blues can be remedied by planning ahead….”
Addiction and Christmas Chaos 
[Candace Plattor, Vancouver Observer]
“Even before Halloween came and went, I noticed that several of my clients were already becoming quite antsy about the upcoming holiday season—for a variety of reasons. People who struggle with addictive behaviors—anything from drugs and alcohol to eating disorders, gambling, sex addiction, or relationship addiction—wondered if they would be able to maintain their sobriety when they began to actually feel the loneliness, fear, and isolation that they had used these behaviors and substances to avoid experiencing….”
The Holidays and “Food Addiction”
[Vicky Hallett, Washington Post]
“If Santa really does stuff his face with every cookie he encounters after shimmying down those chimneys, that explains the big belly. But health and fitness expert Pam Peeke might say Saint Nick's behavior also could be a sign of something commonly found south of the North Pole: food addiction….”
Holiday Season Can Trigger Substance Abuse
[WIBW, Topeka]
“The holiday season is a busy and stressful time. All the festivities - and preparing for them - also can bring a spike in substance abuse. Stormont-Vail West chemical dependency counselor Fiana Martin says alcohol is commonly served at celebrations this time of year. But she says people recovering from addiction don't have to miss out on the fun if they arrive with what she calls a safety plan….”
Graphics Credit: pareeerica, Creative Commons.

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