Types of Depression You May Experience in Early Sobriety

How To Deal With Depression During Early Sobriety

One problem that many recovering individuals face commonly in early sobriety is depression. The reality of coming back to the world after treatment is not always a comforting one. With so much time and energy poured out into recovery, it can be difficult to find purpose.

Sometimes depression may not even come as a result of a lack of purpose; it could be completely chemical. Regardless, what those who are struggling need to know is that it is okay to not be okay.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

In today’s culture, especially when it comes to poor mental health, all anybody ever wants to do is fix things. Sometimes people will dismiss your pain and apathy as something that will “all work out in the end”. What many people fail to understand is that depression is not an illusion to just “get past”. It’s not something individuals can simply “stop feeling”. To believe so is dangerous in all actuality. 

Depression is a very real mental health issue; it is as real as any other physical disorder or illness. Those who struggle with depression are monumentally afflicted. Depression is not just being sad; it strips away any and all motivation and makes you feel emotionally and physically drained to the point where all you want to do is sleep.

The one thing most people get wrong about depression is that they believe it to be a circumstantial subconscious decision. However, depression is anything but that. People do not choose to have their motivation, sex drive, or fulfillment stripped from them. 

Depression causes significant impairment in one’s normal life. Reasons as to why it may exist could pertain to a combination of biological, psychological, or social factors. Much research has been done to examine where depression stems from, and these common denominators all have the potential to cause the brain to change in function. This includes a massive change in certain neural circuits in the brain. 

Depression in Sobriety graphic

The sadness that most often is associated with depression can lead to physical or behavioral symptoms. These symptoms include the following:

  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in daily behavior
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Thoughts/attempts of suicide

What most don’t realize about depression is that it’s more common than some perceive it to be. 1 in every 4 people suffer from mental illness worldwide. Of this number, 264,000,000 suffer from depression.

The common misconception about this disease is that it is some sort of fleeting emotion or that it is a once in a blue moon kind of feeling; it is much more than that. Depression is an illness and it is as real as any other. Those who suffer from it need to know that they are not alone and have no reason to be ashamed; it is okay to not be okay.

The Eeyore Daze 

Everything in a person’s life could be so great and point towards feelings of joy and motivation. But the reality is that depression can send them walking the other way.  Mental illness is like a cloudy storm that wrecks everything in its path, regardless of someone’s pre-existing struggles. It is a darkness that masks the light at the end of the tunnel as if this light doesn’t even exist. 

Sometimes, to make things worse, anxiety will feed depression and vice versa. Upon recognition of the dual diagnosis battle being waged, it’s vital to understand what type is at hand. Depression is not something to just be lumped into an overall category. There are many types of depression in early sobriety such as:

  • Major depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Postpartum depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Atypical depression
  • Psychotic depression
  • Bipolar depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Situational depression

Some individuals simply do not know how to deal with the effects of depression, and understandably so. Most types of depression have a true correlation to stressors or outside variables. These variables have the ability and tendency to weigh people down.

Many people need to use medications in order to find their balance. But there are those who may not need the help of prescription drugs. It varies depending on the individual and his or her needs and experiences. 

Taking a look at some of the patterns such as people, places, and things we occupy ourselves with is often where an answer can be found. Knowing the types of depression out there and their slight differences are the beginning of that answer. 

Accept That You Must Address Your Feelings

The early phases of recovery can be somewhat of a roller coaster for many. This article isn’t meant to scare you, but rather to inform and encourage you. If you are going to begin the journey toward recovery, you need to be prepared for what to expect. 

When things get tough, it is easy to turn to substances, such as drugs or alcohol. But what happens if you are sober and want to stay committed to this new-found freedom? Emotions that were numbed will start to rear their ugly heads, and they demand to be dealt with; they have to be dealt with. This is why counseling is such an important piece of the recovery process, and it is a perfectly normal and healthy step. 

Many recovering addicts think counseling is something they can just leave behind once they’re finished with rehab, but this is not the case. Counseling is an ongoing process. Even the healthiest of individuals seek professional counselors. 

When you’ve finished treatment, the reality and hardships of everyday life will sneak up. When this happens, it is okay to keep seeking help. Sometimes in the early phase of recovery, some people enter into what’s called the “pink cloud phase”. They feel incredible and happy now that they are free from addiction, and like nothing can go wrong. 

The person who is going through the pink cloud phase is very confident in themselves, as they should be. However, regardless of whether or not someone has become sober, it is imperative to always remember that receiving help is okay. 

What Kind of Treatment is Available for Depression?

When it comes to treatment options for depression or any other mental illness, there are many to choose from. Some of those options include the following:

  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment

Inpatient Treatment

For those who are suffering from more severe forms of depression and have become a danger to their own well being, inpatient treatment is available. This kind of care gives patients 24/7 access to mental health professionals such as doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is probably what most people think of when they imagine a treatment for mental illness. Most often people picture a person laying on a couch with a doctor asking them how they feel. To a degree, this is correct, but there is so much more than that. Outpatient treatment is for those who suffer from milder forms of mental illness. 

Those who participate do so for as long as they need to in order to better manage their illness. Common forms of outpatient treatment include individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy. 

Therapy

There are many different kinds of therapy for mental illness, some of which include the following:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The goal of any sort of therapy is to address a patient’s depression, anxiety, or any other mental/behavioral health disorder and help them manage it. For some, mental illness will always be a part of them regardless of whether or not it is chemical or circumstantial. There is so much trauma that those who have also suffered from addiction probably face. Therapy is a good place for them to receive the validation they never got. 

Your Pain is Real; Get Help Today!

At the end of the day, depression is awful; there’s no way around this truth. For some, it can lead right back into the depths of addiction. Professionals have performed many studies to connect the dots between mental illnesses like depression and addiction.

The truth is that these disorders are more common than some people believe them to be. The same studies also suggest that personalized care is imperative to the fulfillment of their recovery. Treatment for this should be the first priority.

It is okay to not be okay, and our goal at Coastal is to meet individuals where they are in their recovery journey, even if it means the individual also deals with some form of depression or another mental illness.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment process; depression does not separate someone from the norm, or their right to live a life free from the burden of mental illness. If you or a loved one struggle from depression or addiction and would like to learn more, contact us here at Coastal Detox. Allow our team to help you as you work toward sobriety and gain freedom from addiction. Please know that we will walk with you, every step of the way!

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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