Ways to Cope with Depression in Recovery

Mental Health and Recovery

In early recovery, it isn’t uncommon for someone to struggle with their mental health. Following treatment, you might find it incredibly difficult and uncomfortable when adjusting to your new life. Feelings of self-doubt, confusion, sadness, and loneliness may arise during this phase.

Life after treatment is a fresh, new beginning for recovering addicts. Establishing a healthy routine to maintain sobriety and your overall health and wellness is imperative. Administering stable boundaries will generate good habits that’ll contribute towards building the foundation for life in recovery. However, obtaining a healthy routine after treatment is not always easy.

Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental disorder commonly associated with substance abuse and addiction recovery. Dealing with depression in recovery can be strenuous on your physical and emotional health. Whether you’re in recovery or not, using healthy coping strategies to manage your depression is crucial for your healing journey.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

The signs and symptoms of depression are commonly overlooked as a mental health disorder

due to people experiencing them at both mild and severe levels. Many people might experience depressive symptoms but don’t actively struggle with depression itself.

Depression signs and symptoms can include:

  • Feeling unmotivated and lazy
  • Being in a constant state of sadness
  • Changes in appetite and weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigued
  • Spending an excessive amount of time alone
  • Reckless behavior
  • Lack of self-worth
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you’re looking for the signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to keep in mind that the symptoms of depression are recurring. Unlike ordinary sadness or grief, which can occur temporarily after a loss, the symptoms of depression occur nearly every day for weeks—sometimes months or years—interfering with all aspects of an individual’s life.

How Can I Manage Depression in Recovery?

1. Have a Support System

It’s essential to surround yourself with an uplifting community and a positive environment when entering your new life in recovery. The people you spend most of your time with will be the ones that impact how you talk and act—you want to make sure that’s a positive effect.

2. Prioritize Your Needs

Everyone loses sight of their wants and needs every now and then and puts them on the back burner of their life. When we don’t prioritize our wants and needs, we leave room for other things of less importance to take that place. Solidifying your list of priorities is essential to creating a healthy lifestyle, whether that be prioritizing self-care, a healthy diet, daily exercise, or meditation—it’s going to improve your recovery journey.

3. Stay Active

Exercising releases endorphins—the hormones the body releases when experiencing pain or stress. Regular exercise is particularly beneficial for managing and minimizing depressive symptoms. Staying active could include walking or running, practicing yoga, or attending a workout class.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is going to look different for everyone. Different people have different health issues or allergies, resulting in a specific diet that works for them. What works for someone else might not work the same for you, and that’s entirely normal. It’s essential to research what foods are specifically nutritious for your body and your situation.

Foods to avoid in recovery:

  • Refined sugars
  • Caffeine
  • Fried foods
  • Additives/Preservatives
  • White flour

Foods that will improve your health in recovery:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Proteins
  • Dairy

5. Create a Routine

A routine is incredibly essential to keeping yourself organized and occupied in recovery. Your routine might include time for reading, the gym, a walk in the park, exploring a new hobby, or attending group meetings. The significance of a daily routine is that it keeps you on track with your priorities and responsibilities. This is especially important in recovery so that you don’t find yourself unoccupied for too long to where temptations for a drink or a hit creep in. Getting yourself accustomed to a consistent schedule strengthens your organization skills, commitment, and how and what you prioritize.

6. Be Open to Getting Help/Medical Treatment

It’s never easy to experience major depressive disorder or feelings of depression, and it can be even harder to ask for help. Seeking help or medical treatment for your mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness. You should be proud of recognizing and tending to your need for assistance and a change in your mental health.

7. Go Outside

Studies show that spending time in nature boosts cortisol levels and reduces stress levels. Stepping outside for even a few minutes each day to get some fresh air and sunshine could instantly alter your mood for the better. Take a hike, go to the beach, go to the park, or sit outside with a book.

8. Meditate

Meditation comes in several different forms—it is entirely what you want to make of it. Practicing meditation could be praying, focusing on your breathing, or taking a moment to think positively. Setting aside 5-10 minutes in your daily schedule for meditation allows your mind, body, and soul to take a much-needed break.

9. Try Something New

Coming out of treatment, finding new hobbies and routines is almost essential to building a new life for yourself. Addiction takes away that drive and motivation to do things you love and make you feel good. Life in recovery is about finding and rediscovering activities and relationships that make you feel like the best version of yourself. Trying something new could be agreeing to a sober hangout with new friends, reading a book, learning to play an instrument, or signing up for a workout class.

10. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is essential in all stages of life—regardless of your situation and circumstances. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health should always be first on your list of priorities. Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, be well, do your job, help and care for others, and do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.

Each and every one of these fall under self-care practices. For instance, surrounding yourself with healthy friendships and relationships will only boost your speed on the road to recovery. Prioritizing your needs—exercising, nurturing your emotional health, maintaining good hygiene, and a healthy diet— is the most important form of self-care. If your needs are not your priority, it becomes easy to slip into the pattern of serving or pleasing others before yourself—this is also known as codependency.

Attending therapy sessions or group meetings is incredibly fundamental to your personal growth in recovery. Talking about your thoughts and feelings—good and bad—is one of the most beneficial ways to move forward and accept healing. Place yourself—your healing, health, sobriety, and happiness—on the front burner of your life and keep it there.


Connor Barton
Connor Barton
The staff here is amazing. Caring and attentive. I finally kicked the sticks and couldn’t be happier.
Jacob Rashid
Jacob Rashid
So nice to have Grandma back to her old self. She has struggled with xannies for as long as I can remember. The staff were so attentive and met her where she was, not where they wanted her to be. Thank you Coastal Detox!
Tara Payne
Tara Payne
I struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. After many tries nothing worked.It was my 43rd birthday and I wasn't gonna see 44 if I didn't get help. I called around and found Coastal. So glad I did. I am so grateful for EVERYONE there. This beautiful facility is not just a detox. They actually have programs to help you learn to live a sober life and enjoy being yourself again! Entire staff is awesome! (Ms Diana ❤️ and Mrs Karen ❤️)They really understand how your feeling as most are in recovery also. If your looking for some help please give them a call. I give them 10+stars. Five months sober now!!! Thank you Coastal!!!
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins
The entire staff of Coastal is great, the therapists, the nurses, the techs, everyone. It’s a great environment to begin your recovery in. As an added perk, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have thanks to the chefs.
Tony Givens
Tony Givens
My experience at coastal detox was very good, the staff there is terrific. They helped me get through the process of detox in a safe and professional manor.
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.

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