Why is Addiction Highest During the Holidays?

Why is Addiction Highest During the Holidays?

What is an addiction?

An addiction is when one is physically or mentally dependent on a particular substance, thing, or activity. One cannot stop without adverse effects- withdrawal symptoms, physical or mental changes, cravings, and being dependent on it is causing some type of negative effect- spiritual, emotional, and/or physical.

 top 10 addictions 

1. Coffee
2. Sugar
3. Food
4. Tobacco and Nicotine
5. Alcohol
6. Illegal and Prescription Drugs
7. Sex
8. Gambling
9. Screens- TV, Internet, Social Media, Video Games
10. Work

Holiday Statistics?

The most common roots of addiction are chronic stress, trauma, and a family history of addiction. According to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of Americans report having more overwhelming stress during the holidays, over 25% of Americans report feeling more depressed, and 62% moderately anxious during the season. Both depression and anxiety directly contribute to increased addictive behaviors. Studies have shown alcohol alone to increase by 29% during the holidays and sugary treats and food become the focal point with an increase of 440 calories per day. Studies show that addictive behaviors started during the holiday season continue the first 3 months of the year - for example increase in calorie average goes up another 450 calories with a total increase of almost 900 calories compared to the July to November average.

What is a Coping Mechanism?

Difficult experiences from our past can leave an impact on the way we perceive and react today. In response to these stressful situations, we may have learned to behave in ways that “protect” us from pain. These are known as coping mechanisms and happen automatically through our Autonomic Nervous System- specifically the sympathetic side. Coping mechanisms are often helpful in the short term to lower stress - a cigarette, an alcoholic drink, or a piece of chocolate but can become unhealthy patterns that cause more stress, pain, and suffering (aka: addiction). Even though addiction is usually not good for us, we become attached to the coping mechanism as part of who we are and our own personal worldview and rarely see it as an addiction.

If you are struggling with an addiction, it’s important to know that recovery and healing are possible, and with it comes greater freedom, joy, and well-being. 

Below I share resources to help you on your journey from addiction to freedom. 

Stress Expert

P.S. In January the theme of the Exceptional Holistic Health Masterclasses is Freedom From Emotional Eating and Addiction.*

*Become an Exceptional Holistic Health Member today by starting with the 21-Day Journey Trauma to Safety course and receive all January Masterclasses for FREE. Go here to learn more: https://shawnacale.com/21-day-journey