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Post-Drinking Depression

Question:

I’ve been an alcoholic for many years, I’ve now got just 6 months of sobriety under my belt, but I have been going through some severe depression. Is this normal?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

Yes, this is normal, more or less. It is very good that you are sober now because alcohol can only make a depression worse. Don’t just suffer with your depression; get some help for it instead. Get out and be with people – in AA meetings, support groups, sober gatherings with family and friends. Go see your doctor and ask for some anti-depression medication. There are some really good ones out there now that probably can give you some relief. Look for AA meetings that are special for ‘dual-diagnosis’. The people who will attend dual diagnosis meetings will be people like you who are coping with both alcoholism and another problem such as depression. These people could be good sources of support for you. Watch out for some AA people who will tell you that you shouldn’t take your doctor-prescribed medications (they’re out there and they are wrong about this).

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Comments
  • Jessica

    Just wanted to say that I am going thru the same thing now and I have had Doctors and counselors as well as many AA folk tell me that it is pretty common. Especially when you are working steps 4 and 5. I am in treatment for my depression now learning tools and stabilizing my medications but am looking at this as my higher power's answer to my stubborn self for the 3rd step prayer. I can't move on until I face the reality of my depression and low self esteem and learn more tools - ones that AA can not provide. My hope is I can face these head on and be ready to give it all to my HP when I say 7th step prayer.

    Good luck to you and congrats on your sobriety

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