For the individuals who struggle with addictions, the holidays can be a very difficult time of the year. Many have lost loved ones around this time which causes them to fall deeper into their addiction. Others struggle because of not having the money to purchase gifts because of what they have spent on their drug of choice. This causes a lot of guilt resulting in falling deeper once again in their addiction. It becomes a vicious cycle. Guilt, usage, more guilt, more usage. It can seem never-ending to the addict. When the holiday season is supposed to be a time of family and celebration, for the addict it is often a time of rejection and disappointment. Which again drives them deeper into their addiction.
Depression is something that is rampant in America and a significant source for substance dependency, divorce, and suicide. We previously talked about how the disorder costs businesses billions.
- The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.
- Major Depressive Disorder affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
- While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.
- Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.
- Only 61.7% of adults with major depressive disorder are receiving treatment.
[Statistics via Anxiety and Depression Association of America]
Holidays are a time of joy, peace, and coming together. But for some, this is a time of being reminded of painful memories, being put into a room with people who you do not like or have disappointed, and being triggered to possibly relapsing with depression, diet, or alcohol. The holiday blues are definitely something many people with mental health and substance use disorders experience.
Below is an infographic that addresses what the holiday blues are and a few ideas to consider to fight them. (If you need more, we actually gave several ideas for people and those that love them to do to fight off the holiday blues) Maybe the most important part of the infographic below is the last bit of text that states “The holiday blues are short-term. Be patient. Take things week by week or day by day.”
Previously, we talked about the concerns of how mental health and substance abuse disorders can become exasperated around the holidays and ways to handle going to family and friend events or being okay with staying home. One of the biggest concerns for people who struggle with these problems is how their supportive relationships interact with them. With any kind of recovery, we must always include in the treatment and faith process the loved ones of the people who are struggling. So today, I am talking to you and how you can help make the holidays better for people who struggle with mental health.
The holidays are upon us with several days that allow us to take time of rememberance, spend time with family, and look back on life. For those that struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders, this time may actually be a very difficult period. Whether you are trying to avoid using, but going to family functions where alcohol is in high supply and siblings or parents who you use to drink with or struggling with trauma symptoms including mood swings and flashbacks which are triggered by memories your family brings up, this may be a hard time of the year.
Having served both in the capacity of a pastoral role as well as a licensed professional counselor, one of the big, dark secrets that are often not discussed within the Christian circles is the idea of practicing what we preach. What do I mean by this? It is a fairly common point of failure that we lack vulnerability as professionals and pastors.
My request to you readers, pray for your professions and pastors as you would for everyone else. For they hold a role that is important but at times unsteady. I have several in my life that while I am legally bound to not talk about my clients, they know when it is time to pray for me. But I feel this is more the exception than the rule.
When I talk about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD for short, invariably I get all kinds of comments. Many times, those beliefs are incorrect. Unfortunately, people continue to harbor many inaccurate beliefs and so we need to address these myths and instead offer facts to you.
A new article on The Wall Street Journal hypothesis’ that Alexa, and all voice-assistant devices, will be and are currently being used for more than just search results. The WSJ article notes that the developers of Alexa have discovered users are treating their devices more like relationships.
If you didn’t know, there was a study on if you wear socks while having sex, you are more likely to have an orgasm. There is great scientific thought behind this idea. Gert Holstege, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the center for uroneurology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands where the initial study was done states, “In order to calm the amygdala and prefrontal cortex—the brain areas responsible for anxiety, fear, and danger signals—you need to be in a pleasant environment in which you feel safe, secure, and comfortable.” Warm feet from warm socks help a lot.
But the image of wearing socks during sex has also obtained a meaning of “boring,” “have to,” or “it’s my duty.” So people begin to talk about spicing up the sex life in marriage. But for Christians, spicing up a sex life would be bad, right?
In a conversation about marriage, the topic of sex has to come up at some point. The top three things people are cited in having problems are sex, money, and improving conversations. It would make sense to need to talk about sex at some point from a clinical standpoint. But for the modern-day Church in a world where the internet in all its wonder but lack of filters around sex and pornography is immediately available 24 hours a day, we have made it taboo. So, can we write about sex? If so, how far is too far?
But it was like this before the internet too.