Depression and anxiety associated with the holiday season, known as the holiday blues, can drastically affect your patients’ mental well-being and ability to stay focused on their sobriety. Understanding how depression and anxiety can impact the recovery journey can help you improve patient outcomes.
What Is Holiday Depression and Anxiety?
Many people feel sadness at different times of the year for different reasons. This doesn’t mean they have depression. Feeling depressed and exhibiting the symptoms of depression or anxiety at specific parts of the year, however, could be an indicator of them possibly having major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. This is also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The Impacts of Mental Health on Addiction Treatment
The danger of your patients recovering from substance abuse and struggling with seasonal depression or anxiety is that many of these emotional processes and symptoms could lead to a relapse. Often, patients will turn to excessive drinking or drug use to make up for the negative feelings and thoughts they’re experiencing, leading them back to their substance use disorder again.
Tips for Meeting Patient Needs Through the Holidays
Helping patients cope with mental health conditions, stress, and depression during the holidays can be challenging. The tips below may help you find the right approach to doing this.
Help Them Identify When They Need Help
Warn your patients of the effects of holiday stress and depression. Helping them understand that there may be a change in their mood or mental stability around the festive season can help them recognize when they need help. Recommending a mental health professional or licensed therapist could give them access to the assistance they need.
Ensure They Have the Coping Skills Necessary to Deal with Triggers
Many of the causes of relapses are triggers that could be avoided or managed. These triggers come in the form of pressure from family and friends, spending time in environments where alcohol is present, and a range of other situations that could cause enough distress or temptation to make your patient want to use again. Helping them find ways to cope with these triggers can help them stay sober.
Help Them Create Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations or the belief that recovery is a quick process instead of a lifelong journey can be detrimental to your patient’s mental health when they cannot meet their goals.
Helping patients understand that recovery can be a very slow journey with many setbacks and that they shouldn’t be discouraged by this can help them find the reassurance to stay sober.
Offer Them Access to Support Groups
A strong support network can be vital to any patient’s recovery. Introducing them to group counseling, mainly focusing on mental health, can help them find other people going through the same process as they are.
We Can Help
RecoverWell is an online platform that matches patients with the addiction treatment program that’s right for them. By helping potential patients find treatment facilities that offer programs focusing on depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, we’re able to boost patient outcomes. RecoverWell can streamline the search and admissions process and possibly reduce their chance of later relapse.
If you’re interested in the services offered by RecoverWell, sign up today to help future patients get streamlined access to your facility.