How Christmas Cheer Can Be Dangerous for People Battling Opiate Addiction

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Most people share the need to fit in and feel a part of everyday life, especially around the holiday season. Likewise, Christmas, a time of cheer and overall goodwill towards others comes with certain expectations in terms of family, friends and being considerate of others in general.

While Christmas cheer is a good thing, it can nonetheless affect different people in different ways. For someone battling opiate addiction, the pressure to partake in the holiday season can easily aggravate an already problematic drug-using habit.

In effect, any form of stress can set an existing addiction habit into high gear without a person even knowing it. For these reasons, anyone struggling with an addiction problem at the advent of the holiday season may well want to consider opiate addiction treatment before the season kicks into high gear.

Good Stress vs Bad Stress

Stress, in general, typically results from any form of change in a person’s routine or lifestyle. In turn, Christmastime only comes once a year so a certain degree of change and stress can be expected, whether good or bad.

In effect, both good stress and bad stress can be a good thing in cases where the stressor is fleeting or temporary. It’s when stress lasts for extended periods of time that its negative effects start to take a toll, according to Villanova University.

While Christmas may only be the climax of the holiday season, the build-up can start as early as the first day of November. Someone struggling with opiate addiction must undergo two months’ worth of out-of-the ordinary scheduling, shopping and heavy socializing while trying to keep his or her drug using behaviors in check. Ultimately, this situation poses considerable risk to an already addicted individual.

Holiday Pressures

holiday stress

The holidays put added stress on opiate addicts.

Holiday pressures can take any number of forms, such as family get-togethers, party-planning, not to mention shopping for gifts and the extra money that requires. Throughout, the celebratory nature of the season encourages drinking (and “drugging” in some circles), which only works to aggravate an addiction problem.

Like any other form of compulsive drug use, the drug using behaviors that characterize opiate addiction thrive under periods of stress and pressure, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While a person may think he or she can keep things under control, this belief is but a part of the addiction mindset. In essence, loss of control over one’s ability to manage drug intake most characterizes an addiction problem.

Opiate Addiction’s Pull

With opiate addiction, the drug’s effects all but take over brain chemical processes and essentially reconfigures the brain’s chemical pathways. Once addicted, the drug’s effects have warped the areas that most define a person’s psychological make-up in terms of his or her belief systems and daily motivations.

These changes have far-reaching effects, altering a person’s lifestyle in damaging and sometimes dangerous ways. Ultimately, users reach a point where they can’t cope with daily life without the drug’s effects to get them through. Consequently, this dependence becomes even more so pronounced during the Christmas season as users increase drug-using behaviors in order to cope with mounting pressures and obligations.

If you or someone you know struggles with opiate addiction this holiday season, drug using behaviors will likely intensify without some form of intervention or treatment help. Under these conditions, it’s best to consider your available treatment options to prevent a bad situation from turning worse.

If you have any further questions about opiate addiction or need information on treatment programs in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274.


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