The last few weeks of the year can feel like a blur between holiday parties, deadlines at work and seasonal events. That feeling is compounded for some who lean on substances as a coping mechanism. With all the chaos and emotions that surround the holidays, it’s not uncommon to want to tune out some of that noise but choosing healthy and sustainable coping mechanisms is key.
Alcohol and drugs do not provide sustainable ways to cope and only provide illusional, temporary benefits. Any perceived benefits are often outweighed by the negative and long-term effects of substance abuse. Additionally, substance abuse may impact your judgment, leading you to believe it’s OK to drive while under the influence. It’s never OK to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol signal the brain to produce more dopamine and serotonin, chemicals in the brain that make us feel happy and calm. Once the effects of the drugs and alcohol wear off, it creates an imbalance of dopamine and serotonin levels, which is most often linked to depression.
The side effects of drugs and alcohol are temporary “band-aids” that are scientifically proven to leave you feeling worse after substance abuse. This holiday season, consider some of the coping mechanisms below as healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol.
- Call a friend or family member for support
- Tap into your creative side by making art or journaling
- Visit a therapist
- Start watching a new show
- Listen to your favorite music
- Get into yoga or meditation
If you’re feeling helpless, seek support by reaching out to a family member or loved one, or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). In case of emergency, our ER is open 24/7 throughout the holidays.