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After the Detox Program: What Is “Dry Drunk?”

Even after working through a detox program, you or a loved one may still have difficulty finding a place back in the world.  This is to be expected, but there could be a few steps in the process that may take you by surprise.  Someone in recovery who returns home from rehabilitation or who has recently stopped drinking may find that their relationships aren’t what they imagined and may instead find them shaky and perhaps even worse than before.  Despite sobriety, the interactions are strained and less than ideal, which can be distressing and confusing for many.  The patient may fall under the category of “dry drunk” and, in this stage that follows a detox program, things could be more challenging than before for everyone involved.

Emotional Effects Exist Far After Rehab

One definition of someone in the “dry drunk” category is “one that abstains from alcohol, but is still grappling with the emotional and psychological maladies that may have fueled their addiction to begin with, and continues to have a strangle hold on their psyche.”  It makes sense; issues do not clear up immediately following rehab or a detox program.  Rather, the patient is facing the life and routine from before with a big gap within it where alcohol used to be.  Anyone who had to fill the holes of what used to be a major part of his or her lifestyle would have trouble with this transition, most especially if that “major part” was an addictive substance or habit.  There will unquestionably be difficulties within that readjustment and, as a consequence, within relationships.

Something that aids in building back up after a detox program is filling the time with activities that support a clean and healthy lifestyle.  It’s difficult to maintain strong relationships if you are unsure of yourself or aren’t confident in true recovery, so finding a way to deal with the “dry drunk” emotional complications has to become a priority.  If not, the post-recovery experience could end up being just as much of a trial (or more) as the actual detox program for the patient and his or her family and friends.

Signs and symptoms to look for when trying to identify if the recovering addict could be struggling with this phase include bitterness toward loved ones, seeming irritated because they can no longer imbibe, feeling hopeless about the potential for future achievement, frequently mentioning the fear of failure within recovery, and acting with jealousy of those who seem to recover more quickly.  While the stretch of time following a detox program is different for each person, it is universally important that it be filled with strong support and empathy from others.  It can be frustrating and difficult for those in the life of the addict to experience this process, but a renewed understanding of what they are going through can help to ease the tension that will likely fall on relationships and interpersonal interactions.

Though the physical course of treating addiction may have passed, the mental side of things is only beginning.  Work patiently toward resolving some of these issues which may have pushed you or another toward drinking in the first place.  For more information on addiction treatment or a potential detox program in Harford County, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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