It is widely recognized that substance abuse can have a damaging impact on our physical and mental health, leading to a decrease in quality of life. Unfortunately, almost one in seven adults in America experience a substance abuse disorder in any given year. With such a prevalent and serious problem among our society, it is paramount to consider why individuals may become more likely to abuse substances when taking a vacation.
Vacations are a time for individuals to escape from everyday life and take a break from the stress and demands that they may be subject to normally. For many, these feigned moments of relaxation can be ideal for engaging in toxic activities, like substance abuse. It is during this period of respite that individuals may be more likely to give in to a temptation they may not usually have the ability to indulge in. From the influence from a group to the passing “vacation spirit”, the combination of substance use and vacation time can be a dangerous one.
Individuals on vacation may be more likely to engage in unhealthy activities due to heightened stress and anxiety levels upon returning home. With the anticipation of returning to normal responsibilities, people may feel overwhelmed and pressured to fit as much as possible into their vacation time as possible. As such, individuals may uncontrollably rely upon a substance to help them divorce themselves from reality and alleviate their stress.
Another reason why vacation and substance abuse commonly go together can be attributed to the social influence from a group. Upon deciding to take a vacation with people one is comfortable and familiar with, the expectation to socialize over the course of the trip is often present. Alcohol and/or drug use is often expected during these fun rendezvous. Religion, cultural values, age, and gender can all influence a person’s opinion on the acceptability of substance use. With the potential of social influence or peer pressure serving as an impetus, it is understandable why individuals may succumb to the joys of substance use while away on vacation.
The presence of social anxiety can also be a central factor that may contribute to the decision to use substances during a vacation. Those with any degree of this common and understandable emotion may benefit from the confidence boost a substance can offer. Though a dangerously slippery slope that can have numerous consequences in the long and short-term, alleviating inhibitions connected to anxiety may serve as a tempting justification for consuming alcohol and/or drugs while on vacation.
The ease of availability in a vacation setting is also something to consider when looking to understand why many resort to substance use while away. Many people may find themselves working and/or living in an environment where it may be difficult to access alcohol or drugs but upon vacation, the situation may be totally different. In cities like Las Vegas, clubs and bars may be available on virtually every street corner and in some case even offer the substances for free or discounted prices when buying into packages. This easy access can be a great seduction for those looking to indulge in substances while on vacation.
In conclusion, there are many interconnected factors that can significantly increase an individual’s likelihood of turning to substance use during a vacation. From the stress of returning home to the availability of substances in a resort setting, the environment away from home may not necessarily be conducive to healthy habits. Thus, it is important to be cognizant of the various factors that may influence individuals to engage in these activities in order to protect oneself and our loved ones.