MUSC officials say if you are struggling during the holidays, you’re not alone

December, January and March are the most dangerous times for drug- and alcohol-related deaths, according to the CDC.
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 6:25 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2023 at 8:33 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s important to remember during these cheerful months that the holiday season can bring stress and sadness for some.

In fact, December, January and March are the most dangerous times for drug- and alcohol-related deaths, according to the CDC.

MUSC officials said they want anyone struggling with addiction to know help is available, and that they aren’t alone.

Dr. Edward Thomas Lewis, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry At MUSC, said the holidays are challenging for people struggling with addictions for a number of reasons including the number of celebrations and parties, isolation, and reminders of painful memories.

Lewis said the addiction treatment programs at MUSC are evidence-based and address substance use issues and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. He said, often an individual struggling with substance use will have mental health concerns at the same time.

It’s not the same for everyone, but some signs of substance misuse to look out for are sudden changes in behavior, like the inability to carry out daily tasks involving work, childcare and home life.

“Once you start to see changes in one or more of those domains, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a substance use or mental health issue, but as a friend, or family member or loved one, it should certainly alert you to maybe have a conversation with someone and ask them if they’re doing okay,” Lewis said.

When it comes to this conversation, Dr. Lewis said the first important thing to remember is that it is okay to raise a concern and ask questions.

He said this conversation may need to occur several times before the person realizes that they should look into the concern and that they might need help.

In general, Dr. Lewis said approaching someone from a stance of care and concern will go a lot further than approaching them with what they’re doing wrong.

If you’re interested in hearing more about addiction treatment programs at MUSC, click here.