It’s normal for alcoholics to experience a grieving period when they first enter recovery. An alcoholic who is not also suffering from depression will grieve for the drink itself. If you are suffering from a dual diagnosis of depression and alcoholism, the normal feelings of grief that most alcoholics experience when they enter an alcohol detox Delray Beach program will be exacerbated. Your addiction treatment program will need to include treatment for your depression symptoms, and you will need to manage your depression carefully in order to avoid relapse.
It’s not uncommon for people with alcoholism to also suffer from depression – in fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that drinking alcohol may exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, many people who are already experiencing mental health symptoms abuse substances in order to cope. When substance abuse goes on heavily enough for long enough, addiction is inevitable.
Old Feelings Coming to the Surface
Alcoholics drink in order to escape from unpleasant feelings. When an alcoholic with a co-occurring disorder stops drinking, all those painful, depressive feelings that he or she has been suppressing for years bubble up to the surface rapidly. For dual diagnosis alcoholics in our alcohol detox Delray Beach program, this can lead to intense psychological discomfort.
Finding Depression Support in Recovery
If you’re like many of the dual diagnosis alcoholics in our alcohol detox Delray Beach program, you may feel that you don’t fit into the normal 12-step program. Often, people in the 12-step program frown upon the use of psychiatric medications for people in recovery, even though a recovering alcoholic who suffers from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or another mental illness needs these psychiatric medications in order to be well.
But that’s not the only reason why you, as a dual diagnosis recovering alcoholic, may feel out of place in the normal 12-step program. All too frequently, people who have never experienced mental illness for themselves do not understand the thoughts and feelings that a person with depression, anxiety, or another mental illness struggles with from day to day.
You need the support of others who can relate to everything that you are going through, both with your recovery from alcoholism and your mental illness. During and after your time in our alcohol detox Delray Beach program, you need to seek out a 12-step support group specifically for people with dual diagnosis issues, or an alternative recovery support group that caters to people struggling with dual diagnosis issues.
Tips for Recovering Alcoholics Coping with Depression in Alcohol Detox Delray Beach Programs
As a recovering alcoholic struggling with depression, you could be at a higher risk of relapse if you don’t seek the treatment and support you need to manage your mental illness. To some extent, the steps you take to manage your dual diagnosis are very similar to the steps a non-dual diagnosis graduate of our alcohol detox Delray Beach program would take to avoid addiction relapse.
You will need to work on building a sober support network. Choose sober friends who support your recovery, and who understand what it’s like to suffer from depression. Include other dual diagnosis recovering alcoholics in your sober social support network. As a person suffering from depression, you may find it hard to open up and reach out to make new friends. Start with the friends you make in our alcohol detox Delray Beach program and in your recovery support groups, and move forward from there.
Just as if you were a recovering alcoholic without a dual diagnosis, avoid relapse triggers. You may have to work harder to avoid these triggers, since you will be avoiding not only places, people and situations that make you want to drink, but also those that aggravate your depressive symptoms. This could mean limiting your time at family functions, holidays, weddings, birthdays or other events, or even avoiding these events altogether in your early recovery.
Do not be afraid to take psychiatric medicines to manage your depression symptoms during and after you leave our alcohol detox Delray Beach program. Using these medications does not count substance abuse, since you have a medical need for them. You should also work with a therapist, preferably one who understands dual diagnosis issues, to not only manage your depression symptoms, but also learn how to set healthy boundaries that can help you avoid relapse.
Here at The Delray Center for Healing, we specialize in treating dual diagnosis patients. Call us today at 888-699-5679 to start your journey towards recovery from addiction and mental illness.