Dry Drunk: Behavior, Symptoms, and Recovery
Table of Contents
What is a Dry Drunk?
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Dry Drunk Risks
It is also crucial to recognize that if a loved one presents with dry drunk traits, it may suggest a relapse is about to occur. The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous developed the term dry drunk to describe a person who has stopped abusing alcohol but has yet to address the root causes of their addiction. While there has not been extensive research on dry drunk syndrome, it is believed to be a part of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).2
What Are the Symptoms of a Dry Drunk?
When someone is addicted to alcohol, they often develop a pattern of negative behavioral and emotional symptoms. It is not uncommon for many of these symptoms to persist even after they stop drinking. These same patterns are also dry drunk symptoms. Much like when they were actively abusing alcohol, someone with dry drunk syndrome (sometimes called dry alcoholic) will exhibit various behavioral and emotional symptoms.
Behavioral Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome
- Aggressive behaviors
- Skipping scheduled AA (peer support) meetings or therapy sessions
- Experimenting with other addictive behaviors
Emotional or Internal Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome
- Brain fog
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Alterations in mood
- Feelings of guilt or resentment
- New or worsening mental health symptoms, including depression and anxiety
Causes of Dry Drunk Syndrome
A person with dry drunk syndrome is someone who has achieved and maintains sobriety but still exhibits many of the same behaviors from when they were actively drinking. Some people may describe it as “acting drunk” when sober. It is crucial to note that, while not an official diagnosis, if a loved one exhibits the characteristics of a dry drunk, it is a sign they may need help to avoid relapse.
Factors to Consider
- The use of unhealthy trigger management tools over those learned during therapy
- Minimal or no sober support (especially in one’s home environment)
- A behavioral health concern (such as an underlying mental health diagnosis) that remains unresolved
- Misunderstandings about life after alcohol addiction
Is Dry Drunk Syndrome a Sign of Relapse?
How to Cope with Dry Drunk Syndrome
Communicate with Others
Caring for your mind and body is a crucial element of lasting recovery. It isn’t easy to focus on maintaining wellness if you do not feel physically and mentally healthy. Remember that challenges to recovery and sobriety are common, and you are not alone in what you are experiencing. During this time, taking care of your body and treating yourself with compassion is essential.
- Eating healthy foods
- Getting plenty of rest
- Taking time out for yourself
- Spending time with the people you love
Develop New Coping Skills
Treatment for Dry Drunk Syndrome
Treatment Plans and Opportunities
At a treatment program for dry drunk syndrome, counselors will develop a treatment plan to help you return to your recovery journey. No matter where you are in your recovery, evidence-based therapy models such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and alternative (holistic) therapy options can help reinforce previously learned coping techniques while teaching new ones that might be more effective.
Get Help for Dry Drunk Syndrome at Profound Recovery
Treatment for dry drunk syndrome is very similar to the treatments for an alcohol use disorder. Seeking help at a rehabilitation center to get back on track in your journey to recovery is crucial to avoiding relapse and preventing further challenges to your sobriety. At Profound Recovery, our team of caring, professional medical and mental health providers will work with you and your family to develop an individualized care plan focused on helping you heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Contact Us at Profound Recovery
If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of dry drunk symptoms, Profound Recovery is here to help. Contact a member of our admissions team at Profound Recovery today for more information about available treatment options for dry drunk syndrome.