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How Does the Weather Affect People With Substance Use Disorders?

As humans, we’ve all had one of those days. Waking up to a dreary, rainy day can set us off on the “wrong foot.” Many people let the weather “get them down” and use it as an excuse for a bad day. You may decide today's going to be rotten when you see poor weather predicted on the news.

Anticipating a lot of rain, or trudging through snow, can often put us in a bad mood. Some people even say that when they were using alcohol or drugs, they felt triggered to use more often during cold or dreary seasonal weather. Is using because of the weather just another lie that an addicted person tells themselves, or is there more to it?

Does the Weather Make People Use More?

Scientifically, there are no studies that show that weather is a problem that causes people to use more drugs or drink more often. So why do so many people in recovery admit they used more often during the coldest days or rainiest weeks of the year? One thing that we do know is that science reveals that weather can have a huge effect on our moods as humans. This means that even when we approach the day with a positive attitude, poor weather can still send us into a slump.

Most people who are addicted to a substance use it on both cloudy days and sunny days. Addiction is a disease that makes people use a drug despite negative consequences. It will tell you to get high because it's gloomy outside, and to get high because you want to enjoy the sunny weather.

If you struggle with depressive feelings or mental health issues, they can be exacerbated by poor weather. Seasonal weather has such a profound effect on some people that there’s even a mental health disorder describing it. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is one reason people get depressed during the cold winter seasons, when there is less daylight.

Many treatments are out there to help combat SAD. One simple but effective treatment is a light lamp that you can use at the beginning and end of the day, mimicking the sunlight that you’re missing out on during the winter months. Discuss treatment for SAD with a therapist if you believe that you suffer from this syndrome, or you find that your mental health disorders are worse off when there is less sunlight in your daily life.

Does Poor Weather Trigger You?

Addiction is a tricky disease. In recovery, you’ll probably soon realize that you were triggered to use for a variety of reasons, and sometimes no reason at all. After all, most people with a substance use disorder will think up almost any excuse to get high or drunk when they’re in active addiction.

If you associate winter with using alcohol and drugs, it may also be that you’re triggered to use during the holiday season. Many people struggle with emotions and relationships during the holidays, and it makes sense that they increase their drugs use to circumvent these feelings.

Poor weather may make you feel like getting high or drunk, but in recovery, you’ll learn tools to cope with triggering feelings.

Getting Help for Addiction

Many people from all walks of life have reclaimed their lives in recovery. At Present Moments, we’re lucky that our beach climate makes for lots of calm and soothing weather. We want to help you leave your addiction behind, and learn a new way to live. Learn more about how you can start your recovery journey. We can answer any questions you may have, including insurance issues. Please give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options.



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Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

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Your first call will be greeted by one of our intake counselors who will be able to provide information on what program would be appropriate for your situation, as well as information about the process of getting treatment at our facility, if appropriate.

If Present Moments is the right fit for your current situation you will be speaking to Admissions Director Mark Gladden, who will be your guide throughout the process of arranging travel and undergoing an initial detox (if necessary). Mark has been the guide for dozens of men and women who have gotten their lives back by entering treatment at Present Moments. He has earned his reputation as being truly dedicated to the recovery of others. Mark will be the one to ‘show you the ropes’ when it comes to admitting to our facility for treatment

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