Coping with Substance Use Disorder during the Holidays

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow sends a message of hope, discussing the challenges faced by those in recovery or struggling with addiction and their families during the holidays and COVID-19 pandemic.

Coping with Substance Use Disorder during the Holidays

Video length: 1:57


Dr. Nora Volkow speaking:

      I want to send a message for everyone because we are this together… the pandemic, the isolation, the stress, we all feel it at times. And then in to be close to those we love, particularly during that holiday season is not easy. And a result of that, it’s normal that we want to escape, that we want to do something that makes us feel good. And sometimes that means some people choose to take drugs, and more drugs than usual could actually jeopardize your health. 

And so, my advice is look around you and do things that you enjoy that are This is a moment that we have to be more with ourselves with those people that we are living with, with our immediate surroundings and environment and discover, rediscover how beautiful… How beautiful it is. 

And my message for those that are struggling with substance use disorders, who are in recovery, be very aware that these are periods of great risk.  Because one of the factors that leads to drug-taking and to escalation of drug-taking, and to relapse, is stress 

When you have a substance use disorder it makes you particularly vulnerable. And for the relatives and friends of someone who may have a substance use disorder, my message is reach out to them, keep an eye on them, because even if you do it virtually, that human contact is invaluable. Reach out to them and give them that support that they need.