Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with love, affection, and gifts. However, for some people, the holiday may also be associated with substance use, either as a way to cope with feelings of loneliness or as a form of celebration. Valentine’s Day can also be a source of stress and anxiety for some individuals, particularly those who are in relationships. The pressure to have a perfect celebration, buy the right gift, or plan the perfect date can lead to increased stress levels. In 2020, the American Psychological Association reported that over 40% of people experienced stress and anxiety related to Valentine’s Day.
Studies show that Valentine’s Day can lead to an increase in mental health treatment, as individuals seek support to cope with feelings of loneliness, sadness, stress, and anxiety. For example, in 2020, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported a 10% increase in mental health treatment on Valentine’s Day compared to a typical day.
But for those who do not seek mental health treatment, studies show they turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the holiday.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the month of February sees an increase in alcohol consumption, particularly on Valentine’s Day. In 2019, SAMHSA reported that nearly 42% of adults aged 18 and over reported drinking alcohol on the holiday. This is compared to the average of 39% of adults who reported drinking on a typical day. The holiday is also associated with an increase in drug use, including both prescription and illicit drugs. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that in 2020, over 6 million people aged 12 and over used illicit drugs on Valentine’s Day. This is a significant increase from the average of 5 million people who reported using drugs on a typical day.
While many look at February and Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love, many struggle with the stress the holiday brings and the feeling of loneliness that can accompany it. As studies show an increase in drug and alcohol use during the holiday, it highlights the need for increased awareness and education about the dangers of substance use, especially during holiday seasons like Valentine’s Day. By raising awareness and encouraging individuals to seek help, we can work towards reducing the harm caused by substance abuse.
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