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Battling Opioid Addiction in the Northeast

by Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Northeast is known for its seasonal climate. While many love the changing seasons, winter can be a challenging time for those battling opioid use disorder. Opioid overdoses tend to spike when the weather is colder and the days are shorter.

With understanding, planning and treatment, you can be better prepared to cope with substance use disorder during the harsh New England winters.

How the Cold Affects Opioid Use Disorder

While everyone struggling with substance use faces a unique set of circumstances, several factors make winter especially difficult.

Limited Travel

Winter storm conditions can make travel dangerous, if not impossible. Being stuck at home might make it difficult to find healthy activities to avoid boredom and isolation, major risk factors for people trying to maintain recovery.

Forced Interactions

Whether you’re hunkering down with the family during a storm or attending countless holiday parties, winter often forces interactions with family, friends and acquaintances. These social gathers can bring stressors that jeopardize recovery.

Lack of Sunlight

Shorter days mean less sunlight, which can significantly impact people’s mental health and lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Those battling opioid addiction may be tempted to use opioids to manage their seasonal depression.

How to Cope With Opioid Use Disorder in Colder Climates

If cold weather in the Northeast threatens your sobriety, these coping strategies may help.

Engage in Healthy Habits

Some people slip into unhealthy habits during the winter, such as inactivity and poor eating, which can lead to relapse. You can keep your health on track by:

  • Creating an indoor exercise routine for when you can’t go outside.
  • Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
  • Eating three nutritious meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
  • Practicing meditation or other relaxation techniques.

Create a Go-to List of Fun Activities

When you feel depressed, it can be tempting to seek out substances that once made you feel better. Engage in activities you know will improve your mood and keep cravings at bay to protect your sobriety. Common winter activities include:

  • Taking a hot bath.
  • Having a game night with friends or family.
  • Watching favorite movies or TV shows.

Reach Out to Your Loved Ones

Winter can be an isolating time. If you’re thinking about using, reach out to your support system to share your struggles or enjoy a light-hearted, mood-lifting conversation.

Get Help Managing Substance Use Disorder in the Northeast

Whether you’re in recovery or resumed or experienced a recurrence of substance use, Health Care Resource Centers can help you get through New England winters. We offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and personalized, compassionate care to help you

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Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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