Being alone on the holidays can cause people to spiral into sad thoughts and feelings of loneliness. Depression and isolation can lead to people turning to addictive substances to cope. This can be very risky, especially for people who already struggle with addiction.
The holiday season is often a time of celebration and joy shared with loved ones. However, for some people, it can also trigger feelings of loneliness and sadness. Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one or being physically separated from family and friends, being alone during the holidays can be a challenging experience.
Understanding the Connection of Depression and Isolation to Substance Use
Both depression and isolation have been linked to patterns of substance use that often lead to addiction. This pattern can be referred to as “drinking to cope” or “using to cope,” which is one of the most dangerous patterns of substance misuse.
Using drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms may, at first, provide some temporary relief. But after the effects of the drugs wear off, people are left feeling sadder and lonelier than they were at first. This can quickly lead to a cycle of addiction: using more to compensate for worsening symptoms.
In time, people who follow this pattern find themselves with two challenges to overcome rather than one. You may be experiencing symptoms of clinical depression in addition to the symptoms of addiction.
Being Alone on the Holidays
For many people, the holidays are when these feelings are strongest. There are several reasons why this is the case:
- Cultural expectations about spending time with friends and family
- Cold weather forcing you to stay inside
- Short, dark days and long nights
- Norms of drinking and substance use
People may feel like they are not living up to the expectations of their family or friends over the holidays or like they’re not doing the thing they “should” be doing.
Finding Help for Depression and Isolation
When a person is living with depression, the feelings of sadness or loneliness can be amplified. The feelings are real. You may be disappointed that you don’t get to see your family or have real pain in your life that causes you grief. But the subjective experience is exaggerated by biochemical changes in your brain.
Depression symptoms can cause undue stress and disruption in your life. Thankfully, there are evidence-based strategies that can help.
Through targeted therapy, mental health treatment, and compassionate care from trusted professionals, you can not only reduce your symptoms of depression and isolation but work toward overcoming your struggles with substance use as well.
How Can Dual Diagnosis Treatment Help?
Dual diagnosis treatment is the gold standard of care for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. These two types of conditions often overlap and need to be treated together for people to live happier and healthier lives in recovery.
At a dual diagnosis treatment center, you can expect to receive several services and treatments that can help you move past this difficult period of your life, including:
- Detailed assessment and diagnosis
- Targeted mental health interventions
- Meeting with a psychiatrist for potential medications
- Mental health support groups
- Evidence-based addiction treatment
- Medical detox services
- Holistic treatment options
Addiction doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and neither do mental health concerns. But by starting care at a dual diagnosis treatment center, you can find treatment options that recognize the complexity and interconnectedness of these conditions and begin taking the actions needed to live a long and rewarding life in recovery.
Call Evoke Wellness at San Marcos to Start Dual Diagnosis Treatment
At Evoke Wellness at San Marcos, our team is dedicated to helping people overcome addiction, find a community, work through mental health concerns, and improve their quality of life. Our team understands the unique challenges that come with being alone during the holidays, and we are committed to providing compassionate, evidence-based care to help you find relief and healing. Call our team today at 888.450.2285 or contact us online to get started with dual diagnosis treatment. You don’t need to be alone for the holidays—our team is here to help.