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Three Common Holiday Relapse TriggersA relapse trigger is any event, person or situation that conjures the desire to abuse drugs. For drug addicts, a trigger is a stimulus that encourages people to abuse drugs again, be it a thought, feeling, sight or person. Unfortunately, many people relapse during the holidays, because this is a stressful time for many. Beginning with Halloween and lasting through New Year’s Day, the holiday season attracts many people, but it incorporates events exhaustion, depression and complacency that may trigger relapse.

How Exhaustion Leads to Relapse during the Holidays

Exhaustion may trigger relapse, which is especially troubling, because many people suffer from this problem during the holidays. For instance, many families feel exhausted during Thanksgiving and Christmas, because visiting relatives, seeing friends and attending social events can be taxing both physically and mentally. According to the American Psychological Association, exhaustion may cause relapse into substance abuse or addiction, especially as it limits a person’s ability to say no to a drug that offers relaxation. Recovery is an ongoing process that takes effort and will, and the exhaustion from cooking, cleaning, attending parties, hosting family and friends and working extra hours may make the holiday season excruciating.

How Depression Leads to Relapse during the Holidays

Depression is a leading cause of addiction, as well as relapse. According to the New York Times, the holidays cause great depression, so they greatly encourage relapse as a result. Additionally, many people originally abused drugs to treat depression, so experiencing it anew may lead to drug or alcohol abuse to dull depression’s feelings of loneliness or helplessness.

How Complacency Leads to Relapse during the Holidays

Complacency, or feeling overly confident about addiction recovery, can also lead to relapse. Focusing on the events of the holidays can distract you from the support group meetings or counseling sessions that keep recovery going, and losing sight of recovery may lead to lapses in judgment that encourage drug abuse. In other words, keep treating your addiction through the holidays to stay clean.

How to Avoid Relapse during the Holidays

Many problems encourage addiction relapse, but you can stay sober with the right help. Remember how you felt in the addiction, because this may keep you from succumbing to your cravings. Also, keep handy any phone numbers of people who can remove you from bad situations, like parties with drugs. By seeking help, you can stay clean during this stressful time.

Also, if you or someone you love is recovering from addiction, know that you are not alone during the holidays. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about treatment that can help you maintain recovery during stressful times. Our staff is available 24 hours a day, so call now for instant, confidential support.