History and Overview of a Dry Drunk
The term “dry drunk” originally came from the creators of Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-step program that helps alcoholics recover and get sober, ultimately to live a healthier, happier life. The author, R.J. Solberg used the term in his book 1970, The Dry Drunk Syndrome. He referred to it as the signs and symptoms that are characterized by an alcoholic before they recover and get sober. It’s specifically the behaviors, actions, and attitudes that you possess while you are treating your alcoholism.
If you have dry drunk syndrome you may continue to have struggles in relationships with your family or loved ones. You may continue to have unhealthy behaviors and habits, despite becoming sober. Even though you have quit drinking, you still hold the emotional baggage and struggles that come with your addiction. You haven’t fully healed from the wounds that are causing you to want to drink. If you have stopped drinking on your own, you are more likely to have dry drunk syndrome because you don’t have support from a medical professional to help you through your recovery.
It is possible to overcome dry drunk syndrome, with the willingness to dig deep and get help for the root of your addiction. The alcohol rehab and detox program at Inland Detox provides all the necessary support to help you cope and learn healthier strategies to handle the emotions behind your addiction. The staff at our center understand what it means to go through recovery and the challenges that arise through the process.
What is a Dry Drunk Personality?
If you have a dry drunk personality, this means that you have recovered from alcohol by becoming sober but you still “act drunk.” In other words, you are still dealing with the underlying issues that caused you to drink in the first place. This is also known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWS. Although the name may hold a negative connotation, it is nothing to be ashamed of and in fact, many people experience these symptoms following recovery.
A dry drunk personality exists primarily in the brain and in your mind. Psychologists have determined that the best way to overcome this disorder is to work on your “inner self” and determine what feelings are occurring that is causing you to drink or abuse alcohol. This can help to offset the symptoms of a “dry drunk personality.”
Inland Detox’s comprehensive alcohol therapy program can help determine the underlying cause for why you are drinking alcohol and what strategies will best help you overcome them. We would love to help you or your loved one with an alcohol addiction problem, and we are here for you.
Signs and Symptoms of a Dry Drunk
The feelings and symptoms around dry drunk syndrome resemble those of how you feel when you are still drinking. It can also feel like the effects of a late withdrawal from alcohol, which has been studied by some medical professionals.
Often, relationships and boundaries are tested due to the strain that these symptoms cause for you and the person you’re in a relationship with. If you already are struggling with depression or anxiety, these symptoms could be amplified. The most common behavioral signs include:
- Impulsive or aggressive behavior
- Using other behaviors, like TV or gambling, to cope with abstinence
- Being dishonestFrequent daydreaming or fantasizing, often about alcohol use difficulty sleeping
- Frustration with treatment, which may lead you to skip meetings or counseling sessions, or give up on them entirely
- A tendency to judge, blame, or criticize yourself harshly
Along with the listed symptoms, it’s not uncommon for people to experience drastic changes in their mood. It might seem exceedingly difficult to express your mood, which adds to the frustration. The most common mood symptoms include:
- Irritability, frustration, or anger
- Boredom or feeling distracted
- Negative or hopeless feelings about your ability to stop drinking
- Low spirits
- Resentment that’s directed toward yourself, people who can still drink, or people who want you to quit drinking
- Anxiety or worry about your ability to maintain sobriety
- Impatience, restlessness, or difficulty focusing
Does Dry Drunk Syndrome Happen to Everyone?
Because recovery and treatment need to be highly individualized for each person, it does not mean that this can happen to everyone. The feelings around recovery can look much different for everyone, based on their circumstances.
There has been some research around being more susceptible to dry drunk syndrome if you leave your treatment program early or if you don’t address the factors in which you misuse alcohol in the first place. Other factors that may make you more likely to have this disorder are underlying health conditions such as mental health disorders (anxiety or depression).
Does a Dry Drunk Always Relapse?
People may believe that if you have a dry drunk syndrome that you are doomed to relapse at some point, but this is not always the case. While lots of people describe relapse as you returning to using substances, this is not exactly true. A relapse is triggered by the process of behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that trigger us to use substances in the first place. A relapse simply means that you are beginning to revert to having these types of feelings and behaviors.
Relapse is a process, and given it is based on feelings you are having, it can often be recognized and treated before it’s too late and substance abuse occurs. Given this information, it can be determined that it’s possible to relapse without even picking up a drink.
Relapses are a common part of recovery, and at Inland Detox we are prepared to support you in any part of your journey, including a relapse. If you are suffering from the dry drunk syndrome or alcohol addiction, reach out to one of our team members right away.
Treatment Help at Inland Detox
Inland Detox is a leading provider of alcohol and drug detox and treatment services in Southern California. Our goal is to help a patient remain comfortable and supported the entire time during their detox, no matter how long you find the duration of their stay lasting.
With an extensive and overstaffed clinic, and a highly trained therapist, one of the best in the industry, you will be well taken care of. We are available to you or a loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure we are there for anything you need, anytime. At any given moment, we have 1 staff member that is assigned to 3 clients, which is considered overstaffed.
If you or a close family member needs help with alcohol or drug addiction treatment services, reach out to our staff immediately. We are here to assist you with whatever you need, ensuring your circumstances are medically reviewed along with determining if your insurance coverage works with our program.