Overcoming Depression After Quitting Alcohol. We often hear of how depression is tied to drinking. Some people who suffer from depression turn to alcohol to feel better. As a result, people who suffer from depression are more likely than others to abuse or become dependent on alcohol. However, it is even more common for people to experience depression after they put the bottle down.
The effects of long-term alcohol abuse negatively impact one’s mental and physical health. Symptoms of depression usually begin during the early stages of alcohol withdrawal. Unfortunately, symptoms of depression can last for variable amounts of time after a person quits drinking. While struggles with depression are a normal part of early recovery, untreated depression can lead to relapse. It’s important to understand the relationship between giving up alcohol and depression while learning how to cope with it.
Why People Experience Depression After Giving Up Alcohol
Depression can affect anyone in early recovery for many reasons. First, depression is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. When alcohol is abused, the brain stops producing dopamine at its normal rate and it depends on alcohol to help provide mood-boosting effects. During withdrawal, the brain begins suffering from numerable changes that produce emotional instability and can worsen depression.
Depression can also linger on throughout early recovery. If you are used to drinking for fun or in social settings, it is hard to imagine having fun without a drink. Consequently, some things in life, like social gatherings, may not seem as fun anymore. In addition, you may not be able to go out with certain friends who drink. This can not only be a trigger to drink, but it can ultimately lead to social isolation and worsening depression.
Lastly, giving up alcohol is like losing a close friend. If you have been addicted for any amount of time, giving up alcohol is terribly difficult. You may feel as though you have lost a part of your personality, your friends, and your primary coping mechanism. All of these things are difficult to deal with, especially all at once. As a result, it’s no surprise that giving up drinking often leads to depression.
How to Cope With Depression After Quitting Drinking
Depression, like alcoholism, cannot be cured overnight. If depression persists after you complete alcohol withdrawal, you need to know how to cope with it in healthy ways. In addition, you may have experienced depression before you started drinking, meaning that more than ever, you need to learn how to deal with these emotions effectively. Having healthy coping skills in place can alleviate your depression, therefore, supporting your lasting sobriety. Here are some simple steps you can take to alleviate your depression after you stop drinking alcohol.
Self-care involves simple daily tasks that ensure you are feeling your best. For example, eating a nutritious diet, sleeping enough, and getting enough physical activity can all help alleviate symptoms of depression. All of these activities are natural mood-boosters that are essential to living a happy, healthy life in recovery. Aside from eating, sleeping, and exercising well, you should also take time to do relaxing things you enjoy. Whether it is a warm bubble bath or a long book, taking time to unwind and relax is important. Simple self-care makes a huge difference in life.
Lean on Your Support Group
Depression usually gets worse when people isolate themselves from family and friends. Instead, stay social and lean on your support group. Support groups are important in recovery as they provide accountability and emotional support. When you are feeling down, discuss your feelings with a trusted friend. In many cases, they have been where you are and can help you. In addition, helping other members of your support group will make you feel better, as well. If you’re suffering from depression, look for ways you can help other people.
Find a Hobby You Enjoy
One common sign of depression is the loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. As a result, you may feel unmotived to do many things. However, it’s important to try to find something you love. Perhaps you enjoy the outdoors and want to take up hiking or you have always wanted to learn a specific instrument. Either way, learning something new is exciting – and you may even find a hidden talent that you never knew you had. Learning a new skill or hobby allows you to discover little things life has to offer.
Sometimes, depression is purely clinical and requires further treatment. Even if you have completed an alcohol rehab program, you may still benefit from further therapy. There is no shame in seeking help from a mental health counselor or a licensed therapist. In fact, it is healthy to do so when you need to. Furthermore, antidepressant medications are sometimes required. Again, there is no shame in going on antidepressants. Many people take them after getting sober to stabilize their mental health. There is nothing wrong with seeking additional help.
Find Help for Depression and Alcoholism Today
Feeling depressed after quitting drinking is normal. However, in many cases, it requires professional help. Dual diagnosis alcohol rehab centers can help people heal from alcoholism and effectively treat their depression. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression and alcoholism, reach out for help today.