seasonal drug and alcohol abuse

For anyone struggling with substance use disorder, the stress of the holidays can be overwhelming, but those diagnosed with co-occurring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can find it especially challenging. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal depression that is common during the dreary winter months. It is closely related to other co-occurring conditions such as substance use disorder.

Seasonal Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Some of the symptoms of SAD include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hypersomnia
  • Excessive eating
  • Weight gain
  • Carb cravings
  • Social withdrawal and isolation

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 20 percent of people diagnosed with a mood disorder such as seasonal affective disorder also have a substance use disorder. An integrated treatment plan for co-occurring SAD and addiction may include:

  • Individual counselling – Allowing patients to discuss and address issues with SAD that they have experienced in the past, as well as issues that arise during treatment.
  • Group therapy Treatment for co-occurring disorders such as SAD and substance abuse benefit from the support of others facing similar challenges that can be shared in group therapy sessions.
  • Ongoing support – Patients need continued support after they leave treatment, and a professional integrated care program can provide continuing care for patients, offering them the accountability and support they need to continue along their recovery journey.
  • Psychotherapy  An adapted form of Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), known as CBT-SAD, has been shown to be effective for SAD. This treatment involves techniques such as identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts along with behavioral activation, helping the person to identify activities that are engaging and pleasurable, to improve coping with winter.

In combination with professional treatment, the management of co-occurring disorders can be supported at home by:

  • Consuming a healthy diet
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Taking prescribed medications provided by a physician
  • Regular exercise
  • Engaging in fulfilling personal hobbies

Many people in recovery with co-occurring SAD may isolate themselves during this time of year. Despite the intent, isolation often results in increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, can lead to depression and increase substance use risk.

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. While some may believe they can make it alone, rehabilitation programs are essential in the fight to break dependency. The road ahead is not a smooth or easy one, but you can traverse it if done so with the support of the right team. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addition and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction.The supervised detoxification and residential treatment programs at Asana Recovery are offered in a supportive, relaxing, and inspiring environment. We’re deeply committed to ensuring your long-term recovery, and guiding you on your path to a healthier and happier future. There is no better time than now, and we’re always available to speak with you. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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