Depression and sobriety are a bit like peanut butter and jelly. They can stand alone individually, but are often found together. Depression is prevalent amongst drug and alcohol abusers. Many turn to substances as a way to cope with mental health issues. When the drugs and alcohol are taken away, there often remains mental health struggles. It is quite common to find depression and sobriety together.
In early sobriety, it’s common to experience depression. The loss of the ally, drugs or alcohol, can feel the death of a loved one. While the relationship was dysfunctional, it was still our closest ally. We looked forward to waking up with drugs, drinking before bed, and using substances throughout the day. When that relationship ends, there is often grief which can include anger, sadness, and depression.
Depression and Sobriety
This mourning in early sobriety usually passes over time. In working a program of recovery and adjusting to life sober, the depression often lifts. For others, the depression goes beyond the early days. For some, it may even develop late in recovery. If your symptoms of depression have been persistent for more than two weeks, it may be time to seek help.
Shame often comes with depression. Many in recovery feel immense joy about being sober and don’t have any personal experience with mental illness. Sharing your depression can feel scary and embarrassing. Sometimes people even tell themselves if they worked a better program of recovery then their depression would go away.
Clinical depression has several characteristics that differ from sadness or the blues. If you are experiencing a variety of these symptoms for two or more weeks, you may be experiencing depression:
- Diminished interest in nearly all activities on a daily basis
- Thoughts of death or suicide, not necessarily with a fear of death
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Feeling restless or agitated about being slowed down physically or mentally
- Sleeping more than usual
- Impaired concentration
- Fatigue that occurs on a near-daily basis
- Depressed moods that last most of the day, particularly in the mornings
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- A loss of interest in sex or hobbies
- A loss of appetite
- Feeling anxious or empty
- Aches and pains, digestive issues, cramps
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Trouble making decisions or concentrating
The good news is that you are not alone. Many before you have battled depression and recovered. Just like any other illness, help is needed. Whether you’ve been sober 2 days or 40 years, help is available. Reach out today.
Addiction affects the whole family. Design For Change, a residential treatment facility and recovery services program in Lancaster, is a place for hope and healing for all those affected by addiction. If you are ready to start the fight for sobriety, choose a program that will help you come out victoriously. Freedom is yours. Find it today by calling us for more information on our longterm, student, and customizable treatment programs: (877) 267-3646