DRY DRUNK SYNDROME

Consumption of alcohol results in a mood alteration and a behavioral change. The sense of judgement and rationality go for a toss resulting in a reduction of inhibitions , a magnification of all existent emotions . The resultant behavior  will be a manifestation of that either in an excessive emotional outburst or uninhibited behavior. Addiction to alcohol which takes a long duration and quantum of consumption results in an identification with the personality that surfaces after drinking.  The person can be impulsive , irrational, emotional,  excessively manipulative , lying, isolating oneself from family and friends in order to drink. As a consequence he would have lost out on jobs, businesses, financial debts , there could be criminal cases against him, there could be strained family relationships with the spouse, children, parents, siblings et al. His health would be affected.

When a person addicted to a substance decides to stop drinking  on his own , he needs to go into detox first as he can go through withdrawals . Trying to detox at home can be dangerous as a person can get into delirium tremens or other complications. He needs to be in a clinical environment under medical supervision  to get beyond he withdrawals.

After the person completes detox and continues to manage to remain in abstinence due to circumstances that prevent him from drinking , without help of a rehab or counseling and tries to “wing” it on his own. This person who is staying away from alcohol for all practical purposes  but has not been able to bring about a change in the character, behavior and personality that continues like that of one when he was drinking. Such a person is said to be in a Dry Drunk state.

The characteristics of the person who is a dry drunk are:

Egotistical- he considers that he has done something great by stopping consumption of alcohol. And  he behaves as if he has done some favor on the rest of the family and friends by abstaining . Hence they should be at his beck and call and listen to his demands.

Obstinate- He wants everything to resolve and be fine immediately , as in his suspension should be revoked from the job, his father should trust him with the business and financial dealings just because he has stopped drinking.

He remains self obsessed.

The resentments towards family and others remain the same and affect him more.There is constant anxiety and fear of relapsing.

The inability to manage emotions is the same.

The volatility of emotions makes the family feel as though they are walking on egg shells around him.

The same manipulativeness and lying continues.

He feels deprived of something he thought he enjoyed so much by not drinking . He also becomes jealous of friends who do not have addiction issues.

The person can get into substitute negative addictive behaviors like gambling, food, sex etc

The person who is like this many times has relapsed in his mind and is looking for excuses to re start drinking again and can  eventually get the bottle in hand.

However others can remain abstinent but keep suffering from the emotional pain and behavioral issues that plagued him when he was drinking as he never learnt the tools to enable him to deal with his emotions and work on oneself to transform oneself to be a better person , realistic and balanced.

True recovery from addiction means transforming oneself completely  from within outward, breaking the identification from the person  he was when drinking, resolve emotional issues, change one’s lifestyle , change old friends and societal associations . To do this alone, without support of a rehabilitation treatment program and counseling ,  where in the past the alcohol was a crutch in every situation, can lead to the development of the dry drunk syndrome.

Treatment–  it is very essential for such a person to enter a rehab program and seek counseling.  The family and loved ones can encourage the person to do so to enable the person. To stay sober and be happy and joyful in doing so. This can happen  in an environs that is all accepting, non judgmental  and wherein tools are shared like meditative techniques, introspective writing in a particular manner, sharing, counseling etc in an environment  that is conducive to transformation and hence, sobriety.

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