“Dry drunk” is an AA term. It refers to someone who has quit drinking but hasn’t worked the steps. Symptoms of dry drunk syndrome may include irritability, cynicism, fear of failure, and resentment–especially towards anyone who encouraged her to quit drinking as well as people who can drink moderately. Often, people with dry drunk syndrome will be just as volatile and unpredictable as they were when they were drinking. For people in AA, dry drunk syndrome is a sign of a recovery in trouble. It’s not sustainable and it may be a sign of an impending relapse. It can be especially hard on relationships. People closest to the newly sober person often expect to see an improvement but in reality, the person’s behavior is just as bad, or worse. Often, the dry drunk will pick up replacement addictions or engage in reckless behavior. Although the name dry drunk syndrome originated in AA, it applies to all substances, not just alcohol. It is common in people who have been through detox but not had any follow-up treatment. The reason for dry drunk syndrome is that substance use is typically a symptom of other problems. Getting sober without addressing the underlying problems essentially removes the only way a person had of coping with pain. Many people struggling with addiction also struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other disorders that make daily life difficult. Substance use may be the only way they knew how to deal with the symptoms of these conditions. People with dry drunk syndrome may also be disappointed that sobriety hasn’t had a more positive impact on their lives. They may have seen their substance use as the main reason things weren’t going well for them and expected their lives to turn around quickly after getting sober. Many people find this process is much slower than they expected. What’s more, sobriety allows you to quit sabotaging yourself; it doesn’t automatically improve things. Improvement takes steady work and learning new skills. Dry drunk syndrome is one reason a comprehensive treatment plan is important. Although detox is a necessary first step, it is not usually enough to begin a long-term recovery. It’s crucial to figure out the cause of the addiction and whether you have any co-occurring disorders that need to be treated. However, addiction treatment is about more than just treating co-occurring conditions. You will also learn strategies for emotional regulation, stress management, and communication that will help you cope with the challenges of recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.