People who suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse often find themselves struggling in order to keep their lives on track. Because alcoholism is a lifelong disease, recovering alcoholics and addicts know that living with addiction means taking it one day at a time. Because of this, it’s understandable that when a natural disaster strikes, a person who has a past of addiction may be challenged. Dealing with the consequence of a natural disaster often means the normal day-to-day routine of a recovering alcoholic or addict is throw out the window, and this can provide an unwanted avenue to start using or drinking once again.

Why Natural Disasters May Cause Relapse

What is most likely to cause a relapse in an individual? Something greater than a disruption in a person’s schedule for a day or two. Relapses typically coincide with a great deal of stress. Natural disasters can be a major problem when it comes to someone who’s a recovering addict or alcoholic, but it depends on exactly how a person has been impacted by that natural disaster and to what degree that person’s life has been affected.

Tragedy as a Trigger

It’s relatively easy to distance yourself from the tragedy of a natural disaster when you’re watching it on the news. It’s an entirely different experience when it happens to you, and you’re stuck in the middle of ongoing chaos. Aside from the fear and trauma that go hand in hand with a natural disaster, you also have to deal with everything that happens after, as a direct result of it all. You or someone close to you may have been injured. If a family member or friend goes missing or is killed, all of the emotions attached to the disaster can skyrocket to a level that you might not be capable of dealing with on your own.

Long Term Consequences

In some cases, you won’t be able to get back to what you consider normal for months or even years. In reality, things may never return to the normal that you knew before the disaster. It all depends on how severely an area was impacted and how prepared you and those close to you were before it happened. It’s not uncommon for communities to be decimated by certain types of natural disasters, something that can cause issues with basic infrastructure for lengthy periods of time. You might lose power or be unable to get access to clean water. Hospitals grow overrun and work can be disrupted or destroyed. Worrying over money, morale, and the future add an unspeakable amount of stress to the situation, and this stress can be compounded on a daily basis.

The Link Between Natural Disasters and Addiction

If you have previously struggled with alcohol or drugs, you probably already know that you are most tempted to relapse when something else is causing a great deal of stress in your life. It doesn’t matter what you’re addicted to, the temptation to go back to the things that temporarily make you feel better is always greatest when everything else feels like it’s falling apart. It doesn’t really matter what the substance in question is, it’s all about that desire to alleviate some of the feelings that you are experiencing when things are spiraling out of your control, and you’re searching for a way to take the edge off of all the emotions that occur when it happens.

New Vista Behavioral Health is a nationwide family of treatment providers, including primary mental health care. You can find a way to live in healthy, sustainable relationships when you learn the skills necessary to cope with Borderline Personality Disorder. Holding our treatment programs to higher standards, we offer exceptional care along a full continuum of options to provide better outcomes for your recovery.

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