Addiction and issues of mental heath can be even more difficult than usual to navigate during the holiday season. This is a time of high stress and activity, a lot of time spent with family and friends (and people in general), and it can all be incredibly overwhelming even without additional complications such as substance abuse or depression. It’s completely possible to navigate the waters of alcohol or drug use, though, so don’t give up hope in your ability to overcome these trials and that of an addiction during the holidays.

December Depression Complicated by Addiction

More people than you might think suffer from some form of mental illness. This may not make you feel better, per se, but it should make you feel less alone, if that has been on your mind. Everyone has their own share of problems, despite how happy or outgoing they seem. The people you encounter this time of year are no exception and may be struggling with their depression or addiction during the holidays just like you and you may be able to help each other more than you think.

This year may come with the additional chaos of the fallout of the recent election in America. Families have been torn apart over the results as people openly argue about the state of things. Holidays are difficult enough without this, but with the pressure to maintain peace, it can be even more challenging than other years to have a good time (and to have one that is relatively stress-free). If any of this sounds familiar, then know that “there are steps you can take starting today and into the coming weeks that could make it more positive for you.” 

For example, go into these gatherings as prepared as you can be. Consider events in the world or within your family that may cause some turbulence when everyone gets together. It may be something that you struggle with one your own, such as depression, which can make things seem more bleak. It could also be a relative who is recovering from substance abuse and whose actions have strained familial relationship as a result of that addiction during the holidays. Whatever the case, knowing at least some of what to expect beforehand can help to reduce the impact if and when those subjects come up.

When it comes to facing the addiction of a family member or friend, you want to make a point of “

[talking] to that person privately about how to be supportive. You may be nervous about this, but they will appreciate your discretion and desire to do what you can for them. They may need some time throughout the day or night to be apart from the group and you could, for instance, offer to go with them on a brief walk or just into other room to chat for a while. Little things make a lot of difference in these situations.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to cater to any traditions and that these gatherings are whatever you make of them. If an environment late at night and with alcohol is likely to cause problems, then suggest instead “gathering for brunch with juice and coffee” as the holiday meetup. The daylight and absence of as much temptation  may make it easier on conditions such as former addictions and struggles with depression. Make sure that you put your health (physical or mental) and well-being above any party, even if you have to have a discussion with people to make particular accommodations beforehand.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness of any kind, or if you are looking into recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addiction during the holidays, then contact The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.