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Coping with Post-Addiction Depression
When individuals picture recovery, they may imagine a few counseling sessions, some time away from the substance of abuse, and maybe a few meditative exercises as all of the effort required to get sober. The truth of the matter is that recovery is as complex of a process as addiction is an illness, and there may be complications and bumps on the road ahead. One such complication comes in the form of post-addiction depression after sobriety. This phase of recovery is different for every patient, but with proper care and awareness, it can be managed and overcome to achieve success in your recovery.
What Is Post-Addiction Depression?
Post-addiction depression and sobriety go hand in hand for many individuals. Extended drug use can permanently alter the way in which a brain processes the signals for recognizing stress, pain, memory, and pleasure. This alteration can lead to the development of post-addiction depression, which is a depression that surfaces after sobriety has been attained. It may last anywhere from a month to several years after you get sober. Depression after sobriety is not unusual among recovering addicts, but it can be dangerous because it may encourage relapses. Depression after quitting drugs should therefore be monitored and treated accordingly.
Tips for Coping with Depression After Quitting Drugs
Depression certainly doesn't make recovery any easier, but it can be treated. If you or a recovering loved one notice feelings of depression that remain for a week or more, speak with a counselor or medical professional about what can be done. Medical treatment may help alleviate some of the symptoms, but a counselor will also be able to provide strategies on how to work deal with depression and sobriety.
- Be kind to yourself. Depression can make it hard to feel good about yourself or your accomplishments. Remember that feeling blue is a symptom of depression and not a reflection of your actual worth.
- Take it slow. Both newfound sobriety and depression can be draining, especially in the first few weeks after rehab ends. Depression can also sap your energy, making you feel tired and lethargic. Make it a goal to complete tasks, but don't feel as though you must rush through each one. Work slowly but deliberately.
- Socialize and exercise. Depression can be particularly nasty because it makes the affected individual want to stay away from friends and family. You may not feel like hanging out or talking, but spending time with loved ones can actually help your depression. Similarly, exercise can help boost your mood and keep your body healthy.
- Remind yourself that it's only temporary. Depression can be treated, through either medication or counseling, and these feelings will not be around forever. Brighter days will come, and until they do, treat yourself with compassion and care.
Find Help with Sobriety and Depression if You Need it
It may be tempting to try to deal with depression on your own, but professional, individualized treatment can help reduce the risk of relapse. Even though it may be hard to remember while in the grip of depression, it's important to know that everyone, yourself included, deserves to recover in a safe and comfortable way. Ask for help if you need it; there's a dedicated team of people near you ready and willing to help you start healing.
For more information on sobriety and depression, call today or fill out our contact form for 100% confidential assistance from our highly trained staff.