Christmas can be a difficult time of year for people who suffer from an addiction, experts at the Priory Group have said.
According to the independent provider of addiction treatment services, alcohol, food and shopping are the addictions which are most hard to cope with at Christmas.
Dr Philip Hopley, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Roehampton, explained that for addicts, the stresses and anxieties caused by financial and consumer pressures and by family and relationship situations are "intensified" over the festive period.
"Christmas puts a significant strain on people and this often leads to people using more alcohol in a bid to relax or avoid facing issues," he noted.
"So many people appear to be having a good time whilst drinking. The New Year can seem like a very bleak place for alcoholics facing a long road ahead."
The expert also said that people with bulimia and anorexia nervosa may become particularly distressed at Christmas, revealing that bulimic behaviour "often peaks over the holiday period".
The Priory Group provides a range of inpatient, outpatient and day patient services for psychiatric patients, including those with depression, addictions and eating disorders.
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