Around this time of year, a number of things come into play that can make depression and addiction both escalate. The days are shorter and darker. In most of the United States, the weather turns colder and there aren’t as many outdoor activities to partake in. Also, the holidays can be a stressful time for many people, causing them to think more about using drugs or drinking in order for them to get through it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a real thing that affects a number of people each year. It is a diagnosable form of depression that often brings out addiction and other negative things.
SAD, Depression and Addiction
The good news is that you can combat all of these things. The number one thing to do is be aware of the fact that you suffer from SAF, depression, and addiction so that you can get proper treatment for it. This season by itself can literally be a trigger for relapse, and knowing that it is one of yours can help prevent it from causing a horrific relapse for your recovery.
Next, make sure you get treated for your disorder. All of these conditions qualify as mood disorders, which easily and often contribute to addiction. Getting your mood disorder properly treated is a huge step towards successful recovery, so if you suspect you suffer from one, go to your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to put you on medication if necessary and to suggest lifestyle modifications that can help your depression and addiction at once.
There are things that you can do also to help. Eating healthy and exercising are two major positive lifestyle factors that can help contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercise creates endorphins that help a positive mindset. Eating whole, nutritious food gives you the energy you need to think clearly and make sound decisions. Also, you’ll feel strong and full of life, not sickly and like the only thing you can do to feel better is use or drink.
You May Need a Change
When it comes to recovery, a change is usually a good thing. Many people who live in a northeast or other places with long, cold winters choose to move elsewhere for their treatment and recovery. There are multiple benefits to this.
1) You are further away from temptation. Your old friends, places, and things you used to get high or drunk with are no longer within arm’s reach if you move away. Creating some distance can give you more clarity and a fresh start when it comes to depression and addiction.
2) There are places out there with better weather. If you see a distinct pattern during which your depression and addiction worsens in the winter, it is time to think about moving somewhere with a more appropriate climate for you, like Florida or California. There, you’ll have plenty of days of sunshine and warm weather to keep you outdoors and occupied with positive activities.
If the holidays are what gets you down, it is important to stay busy. You can’t escape thanksgiving and Christmas no matter where you are in the US, so it is important to come up with a strategy, get in a positive mindset, and cope with the Holidays as best as you can.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious thing, and depression and addiction go hand in hand. If you have an issue with any of these, get help as soon as possible. The earlier you can start feeling better, the earlier you can start living a life free of drugs and alcohol.