We tend to associate the holidays with good things: vacation time, family, homecooked meals, and a break from our everyday routines. But for many, time outside of our daily routines and more time with family can mean added tension, anxiety, and stress. Of the thousands of websites with tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, very few address how we can stay more healthy mentally as opposed to just physically.
At Zelus Recovery, we know that good mental health and the holidays don’t always go hand in hand. This is particularly true for adolescents, who are not just dealing with the usual stressors of family and school. Adolescents are also dealing with the pressure put on them by teachers, parents, and their peers, and with the physical and psychological changes that come at that age. They are trying to find their place in a complex social world, establish their own identity, and navigate their independence. All of these things can be the cause of tremendous anxiety for even the most well-cared-for and well-adjusted young person. And this anxiety is only amplified during the holidays.
Addiction and Mental Health
Adolescent mental health is a growing concern among health care professionals, and the holidays are a high-risk time for young people, who feel the stress of the holiday season more keenly than adults. This means a higher risk of adolescents responding to these stressors with alcohol and drugs.
At Zelus Recovery, we discovered long ago that there is more than just a link between mental health and addiction. Addiction is a mental health issue, and in treating one, we are always treating the other. One of the prime examples of this link involves the most common mental health issue today: depression. A young person who is suffering from depression may turn to alcohol and drugs to temporarily alleviate the pain and isolation that they feel. But if this sort of self-medication is not caught early, it will not only lead to negative physical consequences; it will also exacerbate the very depression it was meant to combat.
A Feeling of Home for the Holidays
This is why it is essential that parents, extended families, and friends of “at-risk” adolescents keep a close eye on them, especially during the holidays. As the pressures of school and home life build, teenagers and even younger adolescents need to feel accepted and loved. But in a more general sense, they need to be made to feel that they are listened to, engaged, and cared for by their families, their peers, and by their communities.
Reaching out today can have enormous consequences for a child’s future well-being. At Zelus Recovery, we encourage you to take a little bit of time this holiday season to talk to the adolescent in your life, whether they are your child, an extended family member, or even a neighbor or friend. A little bit of communication can go a very long way, and there is no better time than the holiday season to reach out.
If you are worried about a teenager or young adolescent in your life this holiday season, reach out to the healthcare professionals at Zelus Recovery. We are a rehabilitation and mental healthcare facility just outside of Boise, ID, that focuses 100% on the well-being of teenagers and young adults. We offer a wide range of services to young people and their families when they feel like they may need a helping hand or even just a gentle push in the right direction. Positive mental health and the holidays don’t have to be at odds. If you or someone you know is suffering this holiday season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Zelus Recovery at 208.518.0797 before things get out of hand. Help is just a phone call away.