Battling Depression In Recovery

Battling Depression In Recovery

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Depression Accompanies The Early Days Of Recovery – It’s A Normal Part of The Process

Battling Depression In Recovery  – One of the most difficult things about the early days of recovery is the depression – heavy, soul-crushing, disruptive, unbearable depression.

Though it doesn’t feel like it belongs in your body, and that it has no business creeping into your day, depression is (unfortunately) part of the recovery process. It doesn’t feel like you should be experiencing it now that you are clean, but you absolutely should be. If you are new to recovery, and you are feeling depressed – you are right where you are supposed to be. Depression is completely normal in the first year of sobriety.

Depression doesn’t completely lift until up to one year after you stop drinking and drugging. This news itself may seem depressing, but, ironically – it should give you some hope. Without understanding that depression is a normal part of the restoration process, you might have been thinking that you’re “not doing something right.” It’s not that you are doing anything wrong. It’s simply that you need time to get your mind right.

Why You Are Experiencing Depression

Battling Depression In Recovery  – The reason why you are experiencing depression is because you are no longer using drugs and alcohol. Depression is part of the withdrawal process.

After months or years of surging your body with chemicals, the neurotransmitters in your brain are misfiring. They are looking for cocaine, heroin, marijuana, alcohol – or whatever drugs you were feeding your body with. The problem is, those chemicals aren’t there anymore. Now that you are sober, your brain is confused. It is trying to form new neural pathways and re balance itself. This takes time.

The main reason why you are experiencing depression is because your brain lacks the chemical Serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for creating feelings of wellness, contentment, and happiness. When you were using drugs and alcohol, you were chemically inducing Serotonin, so the brain stopped producing it properly on its own. Now, it is depleted of Serotonin and your brain is working to begin making it without outside chemicals.

Don’t Let The Depression Take You Back To Your Addiction

Battling Depression In Recovery  – Many people end up relapsing simply because they feel they cannot walk through the depression without some kind of drug to pep them up and get them to a place of normalcy. It’s easy to convince yourself that taking some kind of mood or mind-altering substance is a solution for depression.

This is a mistake.

Going back to the drugs or alcohol will only make things worse. It will set you back and force you to start your recovery all over again. Then, you will have to face the depression again – only this time, it will be more difficult. Ultimately, to experience the gifts of sobriety, you are going learn how to walk through the depression to get to the other side……and you WILL get to the other side.  

When walking the road of recovery, you have to remember that things get better with time. This includes the experience of depression. You didn’t get where you are over overnight and you certainly won’t heal overnight. You will have to continue to walk your recovery journey with the faith that, with time, your mind and body will be restored to a place of wellness and your brain will begin to produce Serotonin naturally so you can feel better.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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