From Thanksgiving to New Years, the holiday season brings a flurry of good tidings and celebrations. For some people, mixed feelings regarding self and others can also come to the foreground during the holidays.
Family togetherness, seeing old-time friends and all the underlying issues that these interactions carry can make for a pressure cooker of emotional turmoil for non-drug using individuals, let alone people struggling with addiction. Add opiate addiction to the mix and the dangers that come with opiate abuse and addiction increase considerably.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, opiates have a cumulative effect on the brain and body, damaging essential chemical processes in the background, without a person even knowing. By the time the need for opiate addiction treatment becomes apparent, drug users may have rolled the dice too many times, resulting in unforeseen catastrophe and heartache. Once opiate addiction takes hold, the sooner a person gets needed treatment help the better.
The Holiday Season
During the holiday season, it’s not uncommon to spend time with loved ones, old friends and acquaintances who are, for the most part, people you may or may not interact with on a day-to-day basis. Spending extended periods of time with family and “long ago” friends can stir up old memories of times gone by, both good and bad.
In actuality, whether good or bad, this season brings about changes in one’s daily lifestyle that can be stressful. By the time Christmas rolls around, walks down memory lane can start to take a toll on a person’s emotional stability, especially when opiate addiction is a factor.
The Opiate Abuse Cycle
The good feelings and sense of calm that comes with an opiate “high” takes a tremendous toll on the brain’s neurotransmitter production processes. In effect, neurotransmitters regulate most every major bodily function.
With repeated drug use, the brain cells that produce neurotransmitter chemicals start to deteriorate, and in the process require larger and larger doses to produce the desired effects of the drug. On top of this, users experience uncomfortable withdrawal episodes that only work to drive continued drug use. Within the context of the holiday build-up to Christmas, someone addicted to opiates may well see considerable increases in his or her drug use.
The Opiate Addiction Cycle
According to the University of California-San Diego, the opiate addiction cycle takes root as opiates wear away at the areas of the brain regulating learning, motivation and behavior, also known as the brain reward system. Someone trying to appear cheerful and upbeat in accordance with the Christmas spirit while attending parties, family get-togethers, going to work and shopping for gifts can easily grow dependent on the drug’s effects to cope with it all.
This mental dependency on opiate effects increases, much like the brain’s physical dependency does. By the time Christmas and New Year’s come and go, opiate addiction has become a “normal” part of daily life.
The Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment Help
Opiate addiction is essentially a breeding ground for emotional instability and mental distress. In cases of heavy drug abuse, feelings of despair and depression only get worse as opiates continue to offset the brain’s ability to function normally. Waiting until Christmas passes only worsens the problem, leaving the mind and body all the more dependent on opiates to manage daily life. For these reasons, getting needed opiate addiction treatment now offers the best chance of a successful recovery.
If you or someone you know struggles with opiate addiction and are considering getting treatment help, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? for information on treatment programs in your area.