Dry drunk syndrome is a phrase first used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to describe a set of behaviors that may develop after someone has become sober. Even though they are no longer using, their behavior suggests otherwise and can impact their recovery. Someone with this mindset does not know how to deal with the emotions that come along with recovery and is coping by using the same negative patterns they used when drinking or abusing a substance.
Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome
Dry drunk syndrome has symptoms similar to those of active addiction. These symptoms can develop over time and worsen. When the underlying cause of addiction is not addressed or properly dealt with, old habits and emotions can surface and put you at risk for relapse. Some noticeable signs that may indicate someone is struggling with this condition are:
- Outbursts of anger
- Negative feelings or thoughts
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings
- Constant fear of relapsing
- Isolating from family or friends
- Being resentful to others
- Trouble in personal relationships
- Having poor impulse control
- Feeling jealous of others who are successful in recovery
- Reminiscing fondly about times when they were active in their addiction
- Development of substitute addictions such as gambling, overeating, sex, etc.
Coping with Dry Drunk Syndrome
Those who suffer from the behaviors known as dry drunk syndrome may feel overwhelmed and stressed. They may have a hard time enjoying their newfound sobriety and be heading toward relapse. They may continue to live life much like they did before they got sober. It is up to them to admit they are struggling and need help.
Just like getting help for addiction, overcoming old behaviors and attitudes takes work and effort. Therapy and recovery support groups can help a person identify root causes of addiction and learn how to care for their mental, emotional, and physical health so that a lasting recovery is possible.
Some tips that may help people create a healthy recovery are:
- Connect with others. Finding others who share your experience and understand what you may be going through can help reduce stress and possible triggers for relapse. Support groups and 12-step meetings offer opportunities to connect with others who can relate. Having a sober friend or a sponsor to turn to when you are struggling can be an important part of your recovery.
- Create new habits. If you find yourself falling back to old habits you once had before getting sober, find new habits to replace those. Some ideas include finding a new hobby, taking a yoga class, enjoying time outdoors, or setting aside time in your day to journal about your thoughts.
- Practice taking care of yourself. Learning ways to take care of your mind, body, and spirit is an important part of the recovery process. There are simple things you can do throughout the day to encourage better health and improve your mood, such as eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, doing physical activity, getting enough sleep, and giving yourself time to relax.
- Seek help from a professional. If you are struggling with your emotions and having difficulty coping with your new sober lifestyle, seek help from a professional. Seeing a therapist or counselor can help you sort through your emotions and identify what caused you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Help is Available
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or you need help due to a relapse, contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center. Our recovery center is located in Pennsylvania on over 24 serene acres and is staffed with addiction specialists who can assist residents with an individualized treatment approach. We offer a wide range of programs and treatments, including holistic therapy and medical detox. To find out more about the programs and services we have to offer, contact us today!