Anxiety and depression are normal during early recovery. The main reason for this is a person is learning new ways to cope and live without drugs or alcohol. During the addiction, getting the drug, finding money to buy the drug, and being with others who use drugs or alcohol are the reason for living. All behavior is centered around the drug or alcohol.
When a person stops the drug or quits drinking, there are many changes that will take place. These changes include emotional, relational, social, and spiritual changes. A person’s emotions can vary but it is common for people to feel depressed, anxious, angry, or helpless after not taking drugs or drinking alcohol. These feelings are normal in early recovery because feelings are typically repressed during drug or alcohol use, and once the drug or drink is not taken, the individual will need to process these emotions. It can be scary to feel again, which can add to the anxiety and depression one might experience. Many people claim they feel depressed because they do not know how to handle all of the emotions experienced. On the other hand, some might feel anxious for the same reason.
When drugs or alcohol are stopped, many individuals will need to deal with family and friends in a new, sober way. This can cause depression as the recovering addict might feel guilt or shame related to their drug or alcohol use. They begin to see their family members and friends in a new light and feel bad for what they put them through. This is a normal part of the recovery process. Over time, your family and friends will appreciate you and want to support you in recovery.
One change that can cause depression or anxiety post addiction is social change. When using drugs or alcohol, the addict surrounds themselves with others who partake in drug or alcohol use. Once a person leaves treatment, it is recommended that people surround themselves with new, non-addicted friends. Socially this is a huge step. Someone might feel depressed for losing friends in the recovery process. Some might feel anxiety as they find themselves without social relationships. Everyone the addict associated with is still using.
Depression and anxiety can also occur post recovery as the addict creates or re-invents a relationship with their higher power. Many post-recovery addicts state they feel depressed because they believe they let their higher power down during their addiction. Anxiety can also be experienced when the recovering addict feels a loss of control over their spiritual well-being. The post-recovery addict has a spiritual awakening of sorts, as they learn to live in a drug-free place full of hope, honesty, and support. This can be a frightening occurrence for some recovering addicts.
Experiencing the ups and downs of early recovery is most safely done in a trusted residential treatment program. Cottonwood Tucson is internationally recognized for clinical excellence in providing an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
Call us today for information: (800) 877- 4520