The holidays are usually a time of togetherness and joy. So it probably doesn’t seem like the best time to enter residential treatment for an addiction or mental health condition. But the reality is that these illnesses don’t take a break for the holidays, and many people suffer in silence while their loved ones enjoy the cheer of the season.
Residential treatment for mental health and substance use disorders can be highly effective, and there are lots of reasons why this is a good time of year to enter a long-term care program. If you’re thinking about waiting until the holidays are over to head off to a residential treatment program, you may want to reconsider. These are a few reasons why this season might be an ideal time for you to start treatment:
- It can be tough to avoid triggers — While the holidays can bring about lots of positive emotions, they can be full of triggers that can worsen the symptoms of a mental health or substance use disorder. According to a 2021 survey, Americans were five times more likely to say their stress levels increase during the holidays rather than decrease (41% compared to 7%). People worry about a range of things this time of year, like having to work long hours, chaotic travel schedules, or whether they can afford gifts or big holiday meals. They may also be anxious about missing family members they’ve lost, challenging family dynamics, being around people who are drinking alcohol, or whether they’ll drink too much alcohol at holiday gatherings.
- Addictions and mental health disorders can worsen — Given all the factors that can impact a person’s emotional well-being around the holidays, it’s no wonder that addictions and mental health disorders can become worse around this time. In a 2014 survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that about 40% of Americans who have a mental illness said that their symptoms intensified around the holidays. Sadly, this can also be a risk for people who are struggling with an addiction, who might use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the worsened mental health symptoms they are struggling with or have a hard time resisting the urge to use substances when others are drinking around them.
- Residential treatment offers a safe space — Sometimes stepping away from a triggering environment is the best choice for your emotional well-being. If the holidays are having a negative impact on your mental health or addiction recovery journey, this might be the ideal time for you to enter residential treatment. Live-in care facilities can offer a safe space where you can get away from the stressors or painful memories that may be associated with the holidays. Without potential triggers looming, you can focus solely on what matters most: meeting your therapeutic goals. And with the round-the-clock support offered at this level of care, you can start building a foundation for successful, lasting healing.
Like any other healthcare provider, residential treatment centers that serve people who have addictions and mental health conditions remain open during the holidays. So, if you’re struggling with a behavioral health concern and think you might benefit from long-term treatment, reach out to a residential treatment center near you and request an initial assessment. Completing this process puts you under no obligation to get treatment at that facility, and you will receive a professional recommendation for the type and level of care that can best meet your needs.
You deserve to have a joyous holiday season. Spending the holidays at a residential treatment center might just be your first step toward having many happy holidays to come.