Deciding to undergo alcohol recovery is a huge success, but it’s only the beginning of a long journey to sobriety. A common speedbump many people experience during this time is the presence of depression. Below, we’ll give you some tips for dealing with depression after alcohol recovery and discuss why it so often occurs.
If you or a loved one need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.
Why Does Depression Occur After Alcohol Recovery?
Understanding the connection between depression and alcohol recovery can help you overcome it. There are several reasons they are so closely related, and one or all may apply to you:
- Withdrawal. Depression is a well-known symptom of withdrawal. Addiction lessens your brain’s ability to produce normal levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure. Remember that your brain is physically recovering from alcoholism and that it simply needs time to heal.
- You feel a dulled sense of fun. You might feel like the activities you enjoyed before recovery are less fun without alcohol. In addition to your brain not producing dopamine at a normal rate, it’s likely most activities you enjoyed before were centered on alcohol. It’s important to seek alternative ways to have fun.
- You’re experiencing loss. When you give up alcohol, it may feel like you’re giving up a big aspect of your life. During depressive thoughts, be kind and remind yourself that you are experiencing loss. It’s ok to feel this way.
- Alcohol was a coping mechanism. Without alcohol, difficulties you face can feel harder to combat, leading to depressive feelings. Learning new coping mechanisms is crucial in recovery.
Tips for Dealing with Depression
In addition to reminding yourself about why you’re feeling this way, use the following tips to help you manage depression in recovery:
- Take care of your body. After experiencing withdrawal and throughout recovery, your body needs extra care and attention. Make an effort to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough rest to help you stay energized and begin producing more dopamine.
- Find new hobbies. Recovery is a great time to try something new or pick up a hobby you neglected before. This could include reading, writing, painting, biking, gardening, or anything that you find pleasure in that doesn’t involve alcohol.
- Develop new coping mechanisms. This point is key. One crucial coping mechanism is to build a support system that you can talk to about what you’re going through, such as family, friends, and/or an alcoholism support group. Other ways to cope with your feelings include meditation, removing yourself from triggering situations, and taking deep breaths. Find a few techniques that work for you.
Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation
We hope these tips for dealing with depression after alcohol recovery help you. If you or a loved one need assistance pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here for you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.