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Holidays can be harder for people battling addiction

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — As we get closer to the holiday season, many people are getting ready to spend more time with family and friends and while the holiday season is a happy time for many people, some people actually feel more depressed during the holidays.

Many people think of the holidays as a happy time to get together with friends and family but that’s not always the case.

“Some people have mixed feelings about getting together at the holidays. Especially if you have substance use disorder, a co-occurring mental health disorder. It can be a stressful time and sometimes people can cope in unhealthy ways with the use of substances,” said Mercedes Kent, Clinical Specialist at Gateway Foundation.

As Mercedes Kent, a clinical specialist at Gateway Foundation explains, everyone’s situation is different, and someone may not be able to spend time with family and friends over the holiday season.

“It may be very triggering. They don’t want to be with their family,” she said. “They can’t be with their family for one reason or another.”

Kent says there are some signs to look out for in your loved ones.

“Isolation. Staying away from family and friends. Not returning phone calls. If someone is missing work. Or they’re just withdrawn. Those are some of the key things to look out for,” Kent said.

But not everyone shows these signs and symptoms, which is why experts suggest you take some time this holiday season and check in with your friends and family.

“I think it’s just really important. You are checking in with friends, family co-workers and just see how they’re doing,” Kent said. “Sometimes just a simple gesture hey I know it’s the holidays do you have plans.”

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