The holidays can be stressful. This is especially true during uncertain times. This year has brought uncertainty and increased risk to us all; however, in order to manage our stress and mitigate potential triggers during the season, we must first understand them. This is especially true for those of us that neglect to check in with ourselves emotionally.

At Mahajan Therapeutics, we want to provide you with the tools you need to have a healthy and happy holiday. Our Clinical Director, Kevin O’Neill, MS, LPCC-S, details why men are at especially high risk during the holidays, and how we can help mitigate that risk.

Statistically speaking, men are less likely to seek mental health care, whereas women are more likely to seek mental health services in times of struggle. Without the help they need, men are more likely to engage in substance abuse. While addiction is a genderless disease, our experience has allowed us to recognize the patterns that help those who are struggling. Here are 6 ways that men struggle with stress during the holidays and the impact they may cause

Men are more likely to numb their pain in order to attempt to suppress their stress with drugs and alcohol. Of course, this merely puts the stressors on hold, and they remain a growing concern. In addition to this, substance abuse may increase their problems significantly, adding to the original stressors they were attempting to avoid in the first place.

  • Men are more likely to use in excess during times of stress. Excessive use can lead to severe medical problems, including heart problems, blood pressure concerns, nervous system issues, and muscular weakness.
  • Men are more likely to avoid communicating with their partners during times of stress. This may cause relationships to change. As we attempt to suppress stressors with substances, they continue to destruct our relationships.
  • Since men have traditionally taken the role of protector and provider, the need to provide during the holidays can be increasingly strong. Financial stress is a major trigger. This stress should be mitigated with reduced expectations and practicing mindfulness.
  • Seeing family and friends during the holidays can be regressive and triggering. This may promote relapse and/or abuse. Men may have difficulty saying no to social engagements and must feel comfortable breaking out of old patterns.
  • On the other hand, social isolation removes healthy connections and can leave men depressed and/or anxious. This often causes irritability and anger. Anger and rage are especially problematic if they turn violent, and must be addressed for the safety of all involved.

The holiday season can be a highly triggering time. However, by understanding the specific risks, men can be better prepared. There is hope. There is help. Mahajan Therapeutics offers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), anger management, grounding exercises, group, and individual therapy, and a host of other modalities to help keep you on track. Reach out today. We’re here for you. During the holidays, and every day.