For drug addicts, using substances brings danger during every season of the year. The winter months, which present environmental and social stresses to everyone, can amplify some of the health and behavioral dangers of addiction. Seattle residents should seek professional help to recover from addiction, especially during the winter.
How Winter Affects Drug Addiction
The effects of many drugs compromise the instincts of caution that help Seattle residents avoid danger. Driving may be the most common activity that presents that greatest risk, because winter weather makes the normal risk of driving more severe for everyone. Shorter days mean more driving is done at night, and snow and ice on the roads make cars more difficult to control. Addicts are compelled to use alcohol and drugs, which often compromise muscle coordination, spatial awareness and sensitivity to risk. These effects of addiction make risk that much more difficult to avoid.
Winter also brings social situations that make drugs even harder to avoid. Social gatherings during the holidays can bring more stress than cheer, especially to drug addicts who may have strained their family relationships. Yet, those same gatherings may provide easy access to alcohol or drugs, so return trips from those events contribute an annual increase of alcohol-influenced traffic collisions and DUI citations.
A shared symptom of both cold weather and drug abuse is a tightening of the arteries. Increased blood pressure is the immediate result, which leads to a seasonal increased in the incidence of stroke and heart disease. For many drug addicts in Seattle, this cold weather constriction simply adds to already established problems with chronic artery constriction and high blood pressure. The cold winter makes these health problems even more dangerous.
Depression and drug addiction also go together for many people. Winter brings an additional threat for depression, and the relative absence of sunlight can cause some people to be depressed. This problem is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and this additional cause for depression can make it even harder for Seattle drug addicts to manage their moods and keep depression in check.
The most basic threat to our safety that comes from winter is the possibility of freezing to death. Addiction can amplify this threat in both direct and indirect ways. First, drug use changes how the body perceives cold. Alcohol and other drugs make the blood vessels near the skin become wider, so more blood flows near the surface, which masks a dangerous drop in core body temperature. Second, drug use impairs judgment, which can come from drugs and a drop in blood sugar exacerbated by the cold. Affected people may walk away from shelter in a time. Third, drug or alcohol addiction may have led to homelessness, and hundreds of homeless people die in the US each year due to hypothermia. In other words, Seattle drug addicts need help to recover during the winter months.
Addiction Treatment for Seattle Residents
If you or a Seattle loved one struggles with addiction during the winter, then call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to discuss treatment options, so seek them now to begin recovery.