Can Isolation During Cold Winters Contribute to Addiction?

In Ohio and other parts of the country, long periods of winter weather can make life seem dreary. While you might feel like you can keep a handle on stress when you are able to spend more time outside and with your friends, life can take a drastic turn for the worse when you get stuck at home. There is some beauty to those snowy winter scenes, but extremely cold temperatures combined with large amounts of frozen precipitation might make it hard to get out. People often wonder if isolation during cold winters contributes to addiction, and you should know that it absolutely does. Knowing what to do to keep from having isolation affect your recovery helps you to stay sober.

There are several factors at play regarding why people are more susceptible to addiction during the winter. Isolation is a major one, and you may feel the effects even if you are an introvert. At some point, everyone needs to see their family and friends, and you might be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to deal with the loneliness that you experience during this time. Winter is also a time when other emotional health disorders show up the most. Seasonal affective disorder can cause symptoms that include the following:

  • feeling depressed
  • losing interest in your former activities
  • having trouble sleeping
  • using substances to cope

Other mental health conditions tend to have more symptoms during the winter, too. Seasonal holidays are a great time to get together with the people that you love, but it is possible that you aren’t able to gather as much since the pandemic began. You might even be thinking about people that you’ve lost over the years who cannot be there when you can get together safely. If your social circle is small or filled with strife, then you might feel some emotional strain as you wonder why your relationships aren’t as close as you see on commercials or your favorite shows. All of these emotions can lead to issues with depression and anxiety, and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can make your symptoms worse.

Learn How to Combat Winter Isolation With Addiction Treatment

Being aware of the effects of isolation during the winter on your mental health gives you a good start for making plans to avoid feeling the need to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. If you are already dealing with an addiction, then this is a good time to enroll in a drug and alcohol treatment program where you can start making changes in your lifestyle so that you are ready to get out and mingle with sober people during the summer.

Addiction treatment programs also help you to find new and healthier ways to spend your time. Instead of sitting at home moping about your sense of loneliness, you’ll have a new list of hobbies and interests that help to keep your mind engaged. Whether you’re more likely to enjoy sewing by the fireplace or are ready to get out and learn how to ski, discovering new parts of yourself helps you to maintain your mental health. You might even make a few new friends who also love doing the same things.

Drug rehabs also put you in touch with people who also want to live a sober lifestyle. Joining a sober community gives you the opportunity to stave off winter isolation and find someone to talk to whenever you start to feel lonely. During the coldest months, you might want to connect online or in smaller groups where everyone can stay warm without have to travel too far. Once it warms up, you’ll have a crew of people to call when you want to host a sober barbecue or celebrate a special occasion. No one is meant to live without the support of friends and family, and you shouldn’t try to do so during the winter. Choosing to go to rehab gives you a way to strengthen your bond with both your new and old friends. Learning how to maintain positive relationships helps you to reduce the effects of isolation on your other mental health conditions, and you’ll find yourself starting to smile when those seasonal commercials come on.

Are feeling the pain of isolation this winter season or trying to plan ahead? Don’t let the cold weather impact your ability to stay sober. Our counselors are ready to help you find a sober community that fills your life with joy. Give us a call today at 833-820-2922 to take control over your mental health.

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