Managing Relapse Risks during the Holidays: When to Get Opiate Addiction Treatment Help

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Anyone who’s been in recovery for any length of time well knows the ups and downs that come with managing drug addiction and the need to remain focused on the task. For someone recovering from opiate addiction, the ups and downs of everyday life can pale in comparison to the energy and expectations that come with the holiday season.

Not surprisingly, managing relapse risks during the holidays can be an especially dicey task. Spending extended amounts of time with family and old friends, not to mention the parties and celebrations that characterize the season can wear away at a person’s resolve to maintain abstinence.

Knowing what to watch out for in terms of situations that threaten your recovery efforts can go a long way towards making it through the holidays relatively unscathed. Knowing when you’re about to reach the breaking point and should seriously consider opiate addiction treatment is equally important.

The Recovery Process

It’s not uncommon for someone entering drug rehab to expect to be “cured” or in control of an addiction problem once treatment ends. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Recovering from opiate addiction, in particular, entails a process of ups and downs, and sometimes relapse episodes, according to the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

While challenging at times, staying engaged in the recovery process through support group meetings and getting needed counseling help when the urge to use becomes overwhelming can go a long way towards managing an addiction problem. There will also come times when re-entering drug rehab may be necessary to regain a solid footing in the recovery process. The holiday season may well be one of those times.

Holiday Festivities: Cues & Triggers

Anyone who’s gone through drug rehab has likely come to understand how certain cues and triggers within a person’s daily routine can drive drug-using behaviors. During the holiday season, parties take place within most every setting, such as work functions, family get-togethers and celebrations with friends.

Just being exposed to a “party” environment can set off the urge to engage in drug use. Place this within the context of two months (November and December) worth of holiday events and it’s easy to see how a person’s recovery efforts may be compromised.

Underlying Emotional Stressors

opiate addiction

Holiday stress can make it hard to manage opiate addiction.

More often than not, underlying emotional turmoil predisposes a person to substance abuse. Likewise, underlying emotional stressors play an active role in driving an opiate addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Traditionally, holidays are a time where families make it a point to spend quality time together. Old friends from days gone by may also make an appearance. These scenarios can bring up memories from times where you’re state of mind was different than where you’re at now. This type of stress, though subtle, can still set the stage for drug-using urges to resurface.

When to Get Opiate Addiction Treatment Help

Much like addiction develops over time, so does a potential relapse episode. Subtle and oftentimes barely noticeable cues, emotions and behaviors can easily pave the way for a relapse episode to occur. With the hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season, it can be hard to see the relapse process unfold.

If you find yourself experiencing strong, ongoing cravings for opiates, it may be time to consider getting some form of treatment help before things get out of control. Please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 if you have any further questions about opiate addiction or need help finding an opiate addiction treatment program in your area.


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