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The Best Ways to Fight Dry Drunk Syndrome

Entering rehab is one of the biggest decisions a person suffering from drug or alcohol addiction can make. It is a remarkable step towards reclaiming a person’s life. Breaking free from the danger and destruction caused by the substances is a victory in itself.

People who have not dealt with addiction themselves often do not know the long road that lies ahead for people in recovery. Contrary to popular belief, the decision to stop using drugs and drinking is not simple. Life will not automatically be the same as it was before a person’s addiction.

People often face several challenges when they want to get better. Dry drunk syndrome is one of those challenges.

What Is Dry Drunk Syndrome?

Coined by people affiliated with the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) organization, the term dry drunk syndrome refers to the attitudes and actions of people suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Individuals may have quit their unhealthy habits but still carry the trauma and disappointments that might have led them to abuse substances in the first place. They might have stopped using drugs and alcohol, but they still might have strained relations with the people around them. They still suffer from internal and external struggles.

Dry drunks might have successfully quit using substances physically. They might have been able to withstand the withdrawal symptoms and no longer crave drugs and alcohol, but they still might have unresolved psychological and behavioral issues.

Dry drunk syndrome is common among people who tried to quit on their own. This is because they did not receive assistance from professionals who could have helped them transition back to normal life. They did not receive sufficient therapy and counseling after they went through detox procedures. People who seek professional treatment are often less likely to develop such issues.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome?

There are several symptoms that can indicate if people are struggling with dry drunk syndrome. They include:

  • Resentment toward the person or people who encouraged them stop using or drinking

  • Jealousy of people who have not struggled with addiction

  • Negativity and anger surrounding recovery

  • Development of new vices to replace their addictions

  • Fears of relapse, depression, and anxiety

  • Self-obsession

  • Romanticization of drinking or drug using

Dry drunk syndrome operates in a person’s mind. While everyone hopes for positive outcomes after people decide to seek treatment, people struggling with addiction often have issues that prompt them to use substances to help them cope in the first place.

Even though these substances might be harmful, they might be sources of comfort for the people using them. If other people remove the substances that are making them feel secure, things might get worse before they get better.

People in recovery are not just letting go of their addictions. They are changing who they are. That can be scary. They are going through this struggle without using substances that might have calmed their nerves in the past. This might explain how people might develop dry drunk syndrome.

Dealing with Dry Drunk Syndrome

People struggling with the dry drunk syndrome can feel overwhelmed as they navigate life without using substances such as drugs and alcohol. Recovery can be painful, since it is not easy to battle inner demons. It can also be a struggle to achieve the level of self-awareness needed to overcome negativity.

Detoxing is only half of the battle. Addressing the issues that led to the addiction, which is the other half, is just as intense and important. Detox alone is not enough. It also does not resolve the entire problem.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of this syndrome, it is important to commit to treatment. It can boost the confidence of people suffering from dry drunk syndrome and remind them of their successes in their search for sobriety.

If people enter treatment already thinking that they have failed, it can diminish the efforts of treatment. Otherwise, people might quit their treatment entirely. Quitting can undermine all of the hard work people have already done and can weaken their resolve to be sober. It can also intensify depressive tendencies and damage a person’s self-confidence.

If people do not seek proper treatment and follow it through, it can be difficult for them to appreciate the positive gains of recovery. They might fail to see the long-term gains of recovering from addiction. While their actions may not be as harmful as they once were, their failure to process the changes brought by detox can cause irreparable damage that can hinder their efforts to become sober.

Fighting Dry Drunk Syndrome

There are several ways to fight the syndrome. Among them are:

  • Understanding the syndrome and how it can specifically affect individuals

  • Committing to a treatment program, as this can encompass substance and behavioral issues

  • Having realistic expectations, since treatment and recovery can take time

  • Maintaining a solid relationship with people’s support systems

Coping with dry drunk syndrome is possible. There are several ways people can do this, including:

  • Spending time on hobbies to help redirect their energy and time to more productive activities

  • Volunteering and helping others in order to give people purpose in life and lessen hopeless and negative thoughts

  • Eating healthy and participating in fitness activities to enhance mental resilience and health

  • Learning new things to build self-control, discipline, and self-esteem, since learning requires focus and dedication

  • Building solid relationships with loved ones can provide psychological, mental, social, and financial support that can make a huge impact on the lives of people suffering from the condition

  • Finding accountability partners to help them stay healthy and away from alcohol and drugs

Recovery is easier said than done, but there is something that can be done to fight dry drunk syndrome and remain sober. You just need to have a team in your corner to help you get through any setbacks that come your way.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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