Person leaning against wall and struggling with dry drunk syndrome

What Is Being Dry Drunk?

Recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) or another form of problematic drinking can be a long road. Some assume that once a person addicted to alcohol is no longer drinking, the problem has been solved. Sadly, this is often not the case since addiction is as much a psychological condition as a physical one. The good news is that it is possible to overcome longer-lasting issues with adequate support. One example of such a persistent concern is dry drunk syndrome. But what is the meaning of “dry drunk”? This syndrome can appear in those who’ve quit drinking but are still struggling internally.

Suppose you’re looking for an alcohol detox treatment center or other recovery services in Wrightsville, PA. In that case, contact Recovery Ranch PA at 717.969.9126, and we look forward to helping you or your loved one move toward lasting recovery.  

What’s the Meaning of “Dry Drunk”?

Some signs of being “dry drunk” or struggling with dry drunk syndrome include: 

  • Negativity and irritability about recovery
  • Fear of relapsing
  • Strong self-involvement
  • Seeing one’s past as a drinker through rose-colored glasses
  • Resenting family or friends
  • Mood symptoms like anxiety or depression
  • Experiencing jealousy toward those who are not living with addiction
  • Substituting alcohol addiction with addiction to another substance or behavior, such as food or sex
  • Relationship difficulties with those closest to one

The definition of “dry drunk” refers to a person who has quit drinking continuing to display problematic viewpoints and actions they held while misusing alcohol. It’s generally understood that the reason for this persistence of symptoms in the absence of alcohol indicates unaddressed emotional or psychological issues. 

How Does Dry Drunk Syndrome Treatment Work?

Dry drunk syndrome is prevalent among those who’ve quit drinking on their own. It also frequently shows up among people who had received some professional treatment but left before it was complete. It thus makes perfect sense that bringing in a professional can help resolve the lingering alcohol-related issues.

The fact is that problematic drinking, or any drug use for that matter, seldom exists in a void. Instead, most people misuse alcohol or other drugs to cope with other issues. For example, they might live with unresolved trauma, extreme life stressors, or an undiagnosed mental health condition. Therefore, getting adequate psychological support is crucial in addressing dry drunk syndrome. 

Individual therapy can prove very effective for many patients, mainly when it includes a cognitive-behavioral component. This style of therapy helps patients learn to replace negative self-beliefs with more positive ones and develop healthy coping strategies for dealing with life stress and other triggers. 

A good therapist can also look for any underlying mental health concerns like major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or a personality disorder that may have contributed to the patient’s substance abuse in the first place. Specialized treatment or medication may also be helpful if such a diagnosis is found. For instance, people with major depression may benefit from antidepressants. 

Committing to a peer support group can also be very helpful in treating dry drunk syndrome. Twelve-step programs like the classic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can help patients take stock of their lives and the role substance abuse has played. They can also help patients work toward forgiveness for themselves and others and reinvest in a higher purpose. Finally, 12-step-related and other support groups build community, accountability, and long-lasting networks for sober support. 

Learn More About Dry Drunk Syndrome and Get Help in Pennsylvania at Recovery Ranch PA

If you or a loved one has quit drinking but is still struggling with symptoms similar to those experienced when alcohol use was present, know that you’re not alone. Recovering from AUD is a complex process, and many others face similar ongoing challenges. There’s no need to struggle alone. If you’d like more information on treatment, contact Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 or reach out to us online. 

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