How Weather Can Affect Your Addiction

While it may seem silly at first, weather can absolutely affect your mental health and, as a result, your addiction. The weather even has the potential to be a trigger!

While changes in weather are inevitable, the triggering feelings it can cause don’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know about how the weather affects addiction, and what you can do about it.

Weather Affects Your Mental Health in Surprising Ways

The weather may not directly lead someone to negative behavior, but it affects our mood and health more than we may realize — and being in a dark place can be difficult, or disastrous, for sobriety. Gloomy, dark, and tumultuous weather can negatively affect your mental health, keep you alone and inactive, and even cause physical health issues.

Man who's mental health is being impacted by weather changes


Sunlight exposure enhances your mood, but when it’s colder and darker out, your brain doesn’t produce as much serotonin and melatonin, brain chemicals which enhance and regulate your mood. Dark days can increase the possibility of depression, oversleeping, negative thoughts, anxiety, and mood swings — all of which are challenging for someone trying to stay sober.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects people when the days get shorter and colder. The loss of light, warmth, and outdoor activities can make people feel depressed, unenergetic, and increase how much they sleep and eat. SAD can make the weather — and even certain seasons — a larger threat for relapse, meaning those with SAD should take extra precautions when the weather turns south.

Social Isolation

Isolation is common among people suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol, as they withdraw and keep to themselves so they can use without being challenged. In bad weather, people are less likely to go out and interact, recalling the feelings of isolation and loneliness from their addiction — and may have led to the addiction in the first place.

Man becoming less physically active due to weather

Physical Inactivity

In addition to not going out and seeing people, bad weather keeps people inside more and active less. Yes, you can still head to the gym or over to the recreation center to exercise, but poor weather can limit some of the passive ways you stay active. Even beyond exercise, the weather can make it hard for you to give yourself a change of scenery, and keep you stuck in a triggering situation.

Barometric Pressure Can Affect Mental and Physical Health

Barometric pressure — the weight of the atmosphere around us — tends to decrease before inclement weather, and has been studied in conjunction with joint and other pain. Low barometric pressure can also affect your mood; although these connections aren’t completely understood, it’s important to know that dramatic pressure changes can weaken your mood, health, and resolve.

Weather Itself Can Be a Trigger

In addition to the above concerns, weather itself can be a trigger for using drugs or alcohol. It can directly remind you of certain environments or situations where you previously used, but winter and bad weather that keeps you inside can push you into situations similar to those where you used.

Weather is a surprising problem when it comes to addiction, but it’s not one you have to face alone. There are ways to get help with your triggers and struggles with addiction — and we can help.

Staying Sober with Extra Mile Recovery

We know it’s hard to manage your addiction, and the difficult emotions and situations that can persist well into recovery. That’s why we chose a name that reflects our philosophy — we go the extra mile to help our clients identify the underlying causes of their addiction and manage symptoms and triggers.

We offer individual counseling and group therapy, where we work with you to build healthy coping mechanisms and find ways to manage the triggering effects of bad weather. With our one-on-one treatment, you’ll be able to thrive in recovery with ways to socialize, stay active, and manage your mood throughout the year.

Find out what more we can do for you: contact Extra Mile Recovery today.

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