• Melissa Adkins

Mental health and substance use during the holidays: Avoiding triggers


The holidays are once again upon us and what should be a joyous time of celebration, for many, is quite the opposite. The CDC reports that over 25% of people feel more anxious or depressed during this season. Why? Finances are a big one, coupled with strained familial relationships, and overwhelming feelings of grief or loneliness. What’s worrisome about these things, is the risk of relapse or increased substance abuse.


For those suffering from anxiety, depression, or a substance abuse disorder, drinking alcohol or taking drugs won’t help those problems or feelings go away. This is why it is of utmost importance for those suffering to remain committed to their health by understanding their triggers and having coping mechanisms on hand to help them through – especially during the holidays when triggers could be creeping everywhere.


Some of those coping mechanisms, specifically for this timeframe, can include:

  • Prioritizing healthy/supportive relationships and spending quality time with them

  • Saying no to any situations (like work parties) that may increase your exposure to any triggers

  • Maintaining your routine, including therapy (one-on-one or group, like NA or AA) and/or exercise

  • Meditation and breathing exercises for when things get overwhelming

  • Taking a break or getting away if that’s what’s best for you (sober retreats can be a great idea!)

Here at AFHS, we want you to know that we get it – and we’re here for you. We are a strengths-based, readily accessible, behavioral health agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Become a part of our program today and we’ll help you start to put those holiday blues behind you!


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