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Holiday Relapse: Warning Signs, Triggers, and Prevention

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Holiday Relapse Triggers

Most of us tend to pack our schedules pretty full around the holidays. From family gatherings to parties with friends, we indulge ourselves in more flexible routines and eating habits. Unfortunately, these festivities can create relapse triggers for adults and adolescents who are recovering from substance abuse.

Holiday Triggers

The holidays are meant to be light and joyful, but what seems like fun to some guests could be relapse triggers for others.

  • Family Gatherings – For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays can bring feelings of loneliness, one of the most common substance abuse triggers.
  • Social Drinking – The presence of alcohol at parties can offer a great temptation. It may seem harmless to participate in a toast or “just have one,” but things can easily escalate.
  • Stress – The added responsibilities, financial burdens, and even fun events can increase levels of stress.
  • Poor Sleep & Nutrition – Changes in routines such as getting less sleep or eating more unhealthy foods can elevate levels of depression and fatigue, which also leads to alcohol and substance abuse.

Relapse Warning Signs

If you are concerned that you or your teenager could be susceptible to substance abuse relapse, keep an eye out for warning signs:

  • Mood Swings – Sudden changes or irritability, anger, defensiveness, denial
  • Isolation
  • Spending time with old friends or going to places they used to go when they drank or used drugs
  • Missing meetings (especially 12-step and recovery meetings) or appointments
  • Poor eating or sleeping habits
  • Romanticizing the past or fantasizing about drugs
  • Speaking negatively about the recovery process
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Lying

Relapse Prevention

If you’ve noticed signs of relapse, it’s not too late, but it helps if you have made a relapse prevention plan. You’ll be more likely to implement prevention tactics if you decide what to do ahead of time. To make your plan most effective, include the following:

  • Self-Care – Make sure you are getting enough rest and eating healthy
  • Exercise – Make time for regular exercise, even if it is small
  • Stress Management – Practice meditation or other techniques to help you calm down and manage your emotions and responsibilities
  • Support – Surround yourself with people who support the choice you’ve made and will help you if you are struggling
  • ASK FOR HELP! – Your friends and family care about you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for extra support. You can also check out places like Desert Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital for more tips or care.

Check out the incredible mental health programs we provide for adults and adolescents, such as our chemical dependency treatment program and our inpatient adolescent treatment program.

Find out more about Desert Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Las Vegas and  contact us today for an appointment or assessment!

We are available 24/7. Call 877-663-7976. Hablamos español.