Is Drug Addiction More Dangerous During the Winter?

Is Drug Addiction More Dangerous During the Winter?Drug abuse and addiction is always dangerous, but the winter months can contribute to increased drug use and an increased risk of relapse or drug-related accidents or suicide attempts. California residents in recovery should be especially careful to steer clear of relapse triggers during the winter months.

Addiction and Accidents

Drug and alcohol use is often associated with car accidents, personal injury, and other unintentional physical damage. The risk of drug-related accidents increases during the winter holidays. “Most Dangerous U.S. Holidays” ( 2009) shares that “Nearly half of all traffic fatalities [on New Year’s Day] involve alcohol, the most of any U.S. Holiday.” Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are associated with overindulgence, which often includes alcohol. California residents struggling with addiction issues may feel no need to limit their drug or alcohol use when surrounded by celebration or when facing the stress of the holidays, putting them at greater risk for harming themselves or others during the holidays and winter season.

Addiction Relapse during the Holidays

Relapse can lead to long-term health effects and more immediate health emergencies, and relapse is most common during the stressful winter months and holidays. As many California will note, holidays come with increased stress levels related to money issues or family relationships. There is also greater opportunity and pressure to drink or otherwise indulge. California residents who return to drug use after a period of abstinence no longer have the same level of drug tolerance they once had, and they may overdose by taking the amount of a drug that was once required to produce a high.

Seasonal Suicide Risk and Drug Abuse

Addiction puts Californians at risk for suicide and other health emergencies. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America shares that “almost one in eight of the 95 million visits to hospital emergency departments made by adults in the United States in 2007 were due to a mental health and/or substance abuse problem.” The February 2011 issue of The DAWN Report, published by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), reports that the highest percentage of drug-related suicide attempts occur in December for adolescent males and January for adolescent females. Among both male and female adults drug-related suicide attempts occur most frequently in the fall months of September and October. These suicide rates are impacted by seasons and weather, making drug abuse and depression a more dangerous combination in fall and winter than in spring or summer for many California residents.

Addiction Help

You can end the dangers of drug abuse and addiction in any season. We are here 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call our toll-free helpline to get connected to the treatment resources and intervention professionals that will meet your unique recovery needs.

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