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What Are the Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome?

Some people attempt to tackle their alcohol use disorder (AUD) on their own. They stop drinking altogether, tough it out during detox and withdrawal, and make a personal promise never to drink again. However, this is only one small part of AUD treatment. As a result, some people end up experiencing the symptoms of “dry drunk syndrome.”

What Is Dry Drunk Syndrome?

Dry drunk syndrome is a phrase used in the early days of 12-step programs to describe someone experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Today, the term is mostly viewed as derogatory by addiction treatment professionals and recovering alcoholics since it implies they are still drinking.

A much more “user-friendly” term used to describe the symptoms of dry drunk syndrome is PAWS. This condition occurs when a person continues to experience withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing alcohol or substance misuse. The effects can last for several months or even years. Without proper medically supervised detox and addiction treatment, including aftercare support, it can be a real struggle for someone with PAWS to maintain their sobriety.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome?

The symptoms of dry drunk syndrome can include:

Behavioral Changes

Some people transfer their addictive tendencies to other areas of their life. For example, they become addicted to video games, pornography, shopping, gambling, or food. Since they did not complete a formal treatment program, they may believe they are doing well, even though they transferred their addiction to something else.

In addition, some people can feel less motivated and feel like they lack any energy to do the things they want to accomplish. This stems from a failure to change dietary and exercise habits. An essential part of recovery is eating the right foods and exercising at least three times a week.

Mood Changes

Some people can start to feel depressed, anxious, or overly stressed. They may feel frustrated because they don’t feel like life is any better than before. Additionally, they may even grow jealous of friends and family who still drink.

These people may be irritable and easily angered. They can lash out at family in friends because they do not think it is fair others can still drink when they cannot. Such outbursts are often triggered by cravings for alcohol.

Physical Changes

Extended periods of AUD do cause chemical imbalances and changes in the brain and body. While a person drank, their body grew accustomed to alcohol. When they stop, the body needs time to readjust and heal itself.

During this process, it is still possible to experience AUD symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, slurred speech, poor balance, and impulsive decision-making. In addition, some people also have insomnia, which can further compound the effects of other lingering symptoms.

The Importance of Treatment in Recovery

While quitting drinking on your own is a significant accomplishment in itself, it does not address physical and psychological dependence of alcoholism. The importance of treatment programs is to help you discover the underlying causes of your addiction.

It is crucial to remember addiction is a disease that requires ongoing treatment. During a recovery treatment program, you start to develop the skills and tools to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle while remaining sober.

This also means learning how to cope with your cravings, triggers, and addressing the symptoms of PAWS. But, most importantly, you establish a solid foundation and support system to reduce the risk of relapse and transferring your addiction to something else.

Furthermore, if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or have other mental health concerns, your alcohol rehab program can include co-occurring treatment to address these issues.

Should I Still Go Through Detox If I Already Quit Drinking?

If you are experiencing PAWS, it is beneficial to complete the detox process still. Medically supervised detox can include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which includes using different medications to help ease PAWS symptoms and reduce cravings.

It can also be challenging to decide what steps to take as part of your recovery. During medically supervised detox, you have time to explore your options and determine what programs could benefit you the most.

Since you have already stopped drinking, you may only need some form of outpatient rehab to provide individual counseling and group therapy. Others can benefit from attending meetings and finding a sponsor. Regardless, detox allows you to determine what is best for you and address PAWS.

At-Home Alcohol Use Disorder and PAWS Detox in Beverly Hills, CA

If you are suffering from the symptoms of dry drunk syndrome or are ready to stop drinking, you can do so from the comfort of your home with our medically supervised detox programs in Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles area. At MD Home Detox, we provide access to our customizable concierge-level detox treatment programs that fit your needs. During detox, we can provide recommendations, advice, and connect you with our network of preferred professionals. These professionals can provide the alcohol rehab services you need to help overcome PAWS and maintain your sobriety. To learn more about our at-home medically supervised detox programs or to start your detox, please feel free to contact us today.

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