Holiday Relapse Triggers to Watch Out For

Patient Support

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the holiday season is a time that many look forward to since, well, the last holiday season. Family time, presents, jolly music, good food and the hope of a winter wonderland, many people deem this their favorite time of the year. But with the holiday season also comes increased triggers and risk for relapse. It’s important to be aware of and prepare for holiday relapse triggers so that you can enjoy this time wholly and safely.

For those who are at increased risk for substance use disorder (SUD) or potential relapse, knowing and preparing for additional stress and relapse triggers ahead of time is a crucial first step in enjoying the holiday season.

Increased Holiday Relapse Triggers

While the holiday season is full of joy and celebration, it also brings increased stress and potential for encountering relapse triggers. Each person is unique – and therefore each person’s triggers and inclination to them is different as well. However, there are a few common relapse triggers associated with the holiday season that everyone should be aware of.

Common Holiday Relapse Triggers

As we approach the holiday season, there are a few different common holiday relapse triggers to be aware of and prepare in advance for:

  1. Increased stress – We all know those gifts don’t wrap themselves! Modernized holidays often take a lot of planning, work and resources. Whether the expectations are set by ourselves or by others, living up to those expectations can cause added stress to our normal routine.
  2. Financial impacts – Surveys over the years have shown that Americans feel added stress when it comes to holiday spending. From gift giving, to charity giving, decorating to hosting, there are so many funnels that we put our money into during the holiday season. 
  3. Time management – Even if we love the different events during the holidays, the balancing act of managing them all can feel overwhelming at times.
  4. Mental impacts – Knowing your own mental state going into the holidays is important. It acts as a level setting to know what you can or cannot handle during this time.
  5. Risky Situations – Some holiday celebrations may include alcohol or other substances that can become triggering.
  6. Emotional Situations – With holidays, powerful emotions can come up. Learning to cope with those emotions through treatment allows you to leverage coping skills to deal with those emotions while still enjoying the holidays.

Facing Relapse Triggers

While there are certainly other triggers that can arise, these are among the most common that you may encounter. Working with your treatment team to identify your personal triggers is an important part of treatment.

Even on a day-to-day basis, an individual’s capacity for dealing with relapse triggers varies. The key to maintaining sobriety is to evaluate your capacity for handling those triggers and utilizing the coping mechanisms you learned throughout treatment.

Advanced Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is battling SUD, contact our team at Wellbridge today to discuss treatment. We recognize the increased levels of stress that the holidays bring and want to work with you ahead of time to prepare so that you can enjoy this time of year to the fullest.