What Is Dry Drunk Syndrome? And It’s Symptoms

“dry drunk” is someone that has successfully abstained from drinking, and their body is no longer having a physical craving for alcohol.


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People often begin the long road to recovery by contemplating whether or not they have a drinking problem. These thoughts usually appear after an episode of indulging in alcoholic beverages; they feel sick the next day and have regret or experience catastrophic consequences resulting from their drinking. They tell themselves they can go without alcohol and begin by abstaining from alcohol. However, abstinence alone does not treat alcoholism. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that detoxification alone, without addiction treatment, is not enough to achieve long-term recovery. When an individual does not receive the proper treatment, the result could lead to the dry drunk syndrome.

What is Dry Drunk?

A “dry drunk” is someone that has successfully abstained from drinking, and their body is no longer having a physical craving for alcohol. However, the individual is left with unresolved mental and behavioral issues, which led to alcohol abuse. Alcohol had been their coping mechanism, and now, with the substance removed from the equation, they are left feeling frustrated and irritable. They successfully quit the physical alcohol dependence portion of the disease but did not receive the professional support to guide them through this difficult change in their lifestyle. Sobriety should bring you peace within yourself, not stress and sadness.

Symptoms of a Dry Drunk Syndrome:

  • Unresolved issues with family members and friends
  • Resentment towards anyone that encouraged quitting
  • Miserable demeanor
  • Feeling of emptiness
  • Denial that an addiction existed
  • Sleep issues
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
  • Jealousy towards others that can consume alcohol
  • Unable to enjoy activities without alcohol.

What Causes Dry Drunk Syndrome?

Dry drunk syndrome is often caused by detoxing at home or attempting to conquer alcohol addiction independently. At-home detoxification from alcohol is not only extremely dangerous due to the body’s reaction from withdrawal, but it also doesn’t supply counseling or aftercare for continued sobriety. According to Harvard Health, “a person with alcohol use disorder has come to rely on alcohol physically, psychologically, and emotionally. The brain adapts to the presence of alcohol and undergoes persistent changes”. For individuals that have been using alcohol to calm feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders, the absence of liquor without counseling can intensify those feelings.

How to Avoid Becoming a Dry Drunk?

The best way to avoid dry drunk syndrome is to seek professional treatment for alcohol addiction. Alcohol has been a massive part of an alcoholic’s life up until this point. Therapy will explain how to perform daily routines and cope with issues without alcohol as a coping mechanism. The purpose of sobriety is to feel freedom from alcohol; however, if someone is experiencing dry drunk syndrome, they are still being held by their addiction’s grips.

How to treat Dry Drunk Syndrome?

The best way to treat dry drunk syndrome is to seek professional treatment. Many individuals feel they no longer need formal recovery treatment since they are no longer consuming alcohol. However, the dry drunk side effects they are experiencing can be treated in a recovery setting. Recovery is a lengthy process that is unique to the individual. Avatar Alcohol Detox Treatment Center in New Jersey offers comprehensive and individualized treatment plans for substance use disorders can assist you with your struggles and help you build resiliency to pave the path to long-term sobriety. It may be difficult to admit that you have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Recognizing that you need help and asking for help as soon as possible is extremely important.

What type of treatment options are available for alcohol use disorder and alcoholism?

Need more information about what alcohol treatment programs are available?

Contact the Avatar Residential Detox Center today if you’d like more information about a comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab program that can help you overcome dry drunk syndrome or relapse. Our admissions team can provide treatment advice and answer any questions you may have about our programs, amenities, and payment options. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call  (973)-774-7222 for more information on our alcohol detox treatment in New Jersey. We provide a variety of treatment services for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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