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Expert offers tips on supporting loved ones maintaining sobriety this holiday season

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Dec 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

The holidays will be a lot harder for people living with substance use or mental health disorders this year

One doctor is sharing his tips on how to best support loved ones

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — One doctor is sharing his tips on how to best support loved ones as the holidays may be a lot harder for people living with addictions or mental illnesses this year.

Dr. Nader Sharifi with the BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services says it’s important to understand the triggers and stressors.

“Being mindful of family conflicts that might come up during the holidays and just having a plan in place,” Sharifi says.

But Sharifi says it’s important to support the different ways loved ones cope while they’re in recovery this holiday season.

“So one thing that helps is to actually make a plan. And that plan could vary. It could be, for example, exercise for someone, or just a walk outside with fresh air,” Sharifi suggests.

“It’s challenging now because social interactions are limited because of the pandemic. So, if it’s in the bubble then there’s things that can be done within the bubble. And these include for example, eating healthy or making a nice meal, making sure that we’re sleeping enough and don’t have any sort of stressors.”


Sharifi adds the pandemic has increased the level of worry, sadness, fear, and feelings of loneliness.

“We do notice that within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that substance use has increased and we noticed that especially in British Columbia with the increase in overdose deaths.”