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Why Does The Weather Affect Addiction?

People who enter addiction treatment programs come from all walks of life. For any two people, the influences that lead to a need for treatment may be similar or even the same. However, they can also vary widely. One potential influence that may sometimes go overlooked is the weather. How does weather impact addiction? At different times of the year, your loved one’s substance use may rise or fall. In turn, these weather-related changes can decrease or increase the risks of serious problems.

Weather and Addiction Risks in Wintertime

How can winter weather affect your loved one’s risks for new or worsening addiction symptoms? Studies show that when temperatures fall, certain seasonal factors can come into play. The list of these factors may include the overall amount of drugs or alcohol your loved one uses. It may also include the frequency of substance use.

Substance use can change in cold weather for several reasons. For many people, wintertime seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a factor. The term refers to a form of depression related to limited light exposure during colder times of the year. If your loved one experiences SAD, they may:

  • Drink or use drugs more often than before
  • Use more drugs or alcohol at a time

The goal of this increased substance use is often self-medication for unwanted mental states. Unfortunately, it can easily increase addiction risks or make existing cases of addiction more severe.

How Does Weather Impact Addiction in the Summer?

Most people associate SAD with wintertime depression. However, the condition can also occur in the spring or in summer. No one knows exactly why SAD strikes these times of year. However, some experts believe that it’s related to seasonal increases in temperature and average humidity.

Regardless of the specific reasons, your loved one may respond to SAD’s effects by drinking more or using more drugs. As with wintertime depression, these changes can tighten the grip of addiction. They can also contribute to a first-time addiction diagnosis.

The Impact of Exposure to Extreme Weather Events

Extreme weather is becoming more and more common in America and around the world. Types of events that can fall into this category include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Floods
  • Wildfires
  • Heat waves
  • Severe cold snaps

All of these events share one thing in common. Namely, they can have a significantly negative impact on you or someone you love. In many cases, this impact fades as time passes following an extreme weather episode. However, it can also linger on. If this happens, you or your loved one may develop PTSD, an anxiety disorder, depression, or another mental illness.

PTSD is a known factor for substance abuse and addiction. That’s also true for anxiety disorders. And as we’ve already seen, depression can contribute to substance problems. What’s more, extreme weather events can increase addiction risks even when these kinds of conditions don’t occur. Why? In their aftermath, you or your loved one may use drugs or alcohol to avoid specific memories or emotions. You may also use them in a general attempt to feel better.

How Does Weather Impact Addiction – Learn More at Skywood Recovery

Weather and addiction risks are sometimes related. Exactly how does weather impact addiction? The answer to that question can vary from person to person. Contact Skywood Recovery today to find out more about the possible factors affecting you or your loved one.

Do you or someone you know need help for existing problems with addiction? Whether or not those problems are weather-related, Skywood can help. For more details on our person-centered approach to customized rehab, just call us today at 269.280.4673. You can also contact us online through our brief message form.