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What Is a Dry Drunk?

Alcoholism treatment provides a safe and supportive environment. It’s a place where anyone giving up alcohol can turn their life around. While treatment can help you achieve sobriety, some people who struggle with alcohol use may develop a syndrome known as dry drunk after they’ve kicked the habit. Vogue Recovery Center can help with long-term symptoms of alcohol abuse and provide an aftercare support system for those in need.

People often refer to recovery as a journey with many ups and downs. Getting help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is one of the most important steps on that journey. The benefits of professional substance abuse treatment are plentiful, and many people have used what they learned in rehab to maintain their sobriety in the long term.

What Is Dry Drunk?

dry drunk

The term “dry drunk” or “dry drunk syndrome” describes someone who has stopped drinking alcohol but continues to exhibit behavior like when they were drinking. It is not a medical or clinical diagnosis, but rather a colloquial term often associated with the field of addiction and recovery.

Someone who is not using alcohol but still feels regular cravings for it would also be considered a dry drunk. Not everyone with an alcohol abuse problem will develop dry drunk syndrome after recovery. If you or your loved one do struggle with the urge to abuse alcohol, a treatment center can help you quit drinking.

Vogue Recovery Center is a full-service drug and alcohol treatment provider. Our alcoholism recovery programs are rooted in dignity and compassion, so you feel safe and secure while undergoing treatment. Our clinical team provides an outstanding level of support and guidance as you take the necessary steps to improve your life. Substance abuse doesn’t have to control you. Vogue Recovery Center is here to help.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Drunk Syndrome?

If you quit alcohol without addressing the underlying issues that led to your alcohol abuse, you may still display negative traits, attitudes, and coping mechanisms associated with your past drinking behavior. These traits and behaviors make up the symptoms of dry drunk syndrome.

Some common symptoms of someone who is a dry drunk may include:

  • Resentment: You harbor bitterness and anger, often directed at yourself or others, which can lead to a negative outlook on life.
  • Emotional immaturity: You struggle to manage your emotions, leading to mood swings, irritability, and impulsive behavior.
  • Denial: You refuse to acknowledge past problems or current issues, leading to a lack of personal growth and improvement.
  • Self-pity: You feel sorry for yourself and use that as an excuse for poor behavior or lack of progress.
  • Isolation: You withdraw from social interactions and fail to connect with others. This can hinder your recovery process.
  • Unresolved issues: You avoid addressing past traumas or unresolved conflicts. This can perpetuate emotional distress.
  • Inability to cope with stress: You struggle to handle everyday challenges without relying on alcohol. This can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms.

Overcoming alcohol addiction involves more than just not drinking. It often requires comprehensive treatment and support, such as therapy, counseling, support groups, and lifestyle changes. These help you address underlying issues and learn healthier ways to cope with challenges.

Who Is at Risk for Dry Drunk Syndrome?

dry drunk

Anyone who has struggled with alcohol addiction may be at risk of displaying dry drunk characteristics. This could include individuals who have undergone alcohol withdrawal without attending a recovery program. Those who struggle with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression are also at a higher risk for alcohol and drug abuse and could develop dry drunk syndrome as a result.

Recovery from alcohol addiction is a unique process for everyone. Some people achieve lasting sobriety and positive life changes after stopping alcohol without displaying dry drunk behaviors. Others may struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges following sobriety. Having the skill and guidance of professional alcohol abuse counselors can make all the difference when it comes to ending alcoholism once and for all. The team at Vogue Recovery Center specializes in mental health and substance abuse treatment. Our dual diagnosis treatment approach offers integrated therapies that heal the body and mind on the road to recovery.

Why Is Dry Drunk Syndrome Problematic?

Dry drunk syndrome may not seem like a huge problem, but it can become one. The negative thoughts and behaviors that accompany dry drunk syndrome can grow worse over time if not treated. This opens the door for relapse and becoming a functioning alcoholic, plus even bigger mental health problems like self-harm and suicide. These feelings may not pass on their own. In that case, it’s time for professional help.

To prevent negative consequences from dry drunk syndrome, getting help right away for a drinking problem is the best course of action. Vogue Recovery Center is here to help. Our alcoholism treatment programs can help prevent dry drunk syndrome from taking over your life.

Treating Dry Drunk Syndrome

dry drunk

Treating dry drunk syndrome can be a challenge, especially alone. There are a few ways to get help that are available for all. The first is to attend a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Peer-led support groups provide a place where someone with an alcohol use disorder can feel like they aren’t alone. In AA meetings participants share their experiences, successes, and setbacks with alcohol addiction. Listening to others’ stories can offer hope and inspiration and allow you to learn from others who have achieved sobriety.

The best way to treat dry drunk syndrome is to work with a professional treatment center like Vogue Recovery Center. Our alcoholism recovery programs help you address any co-occurring mental health issues for an integrated approach to sobriety. And our levels of care for alcohol abuse provide structure and support where it’s needed during the recovery process.

Our levels of care for alcoholism include:

  • Medical detox: The first step to quit drinking is to do just that. Those with an alcohol use disorder may need to detox from alcohol depending on the severity of their usage. Withdrawal symptoms for alcohol abuse include life-threatening medical conditions like delirium tremens (DTs) and seizures. In medical detox our medical staff is available around the clock to provide care and comfort.
  • Inpatient treatment: After you complete alcohol detox, residential treatment is a great next step. Inpatient care involves spending 24/7 at our treatment center undergoing evidence-based behavioral therapy and holistic treatments for alcohol abuse.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): PHP is a form of outpatient recovery that involves spending five days per week in treatment. You are free to live at home or in our sober living center while in a PHP. The goal is to begin the transition back to your normal life following recovery.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOP is another form of outpatient care. It offers more flexibility in recovery. An IOP involves between 9 and 15 hours of treatment per week. The goal is to build on the skills and tools learned in previous levels of care to prepare for life after rehab.
  • Outpatient rehab: Outpatient rehab marks the shift from recovery back to your life at home. Outpatient alcohol treatment is a place to build support systems. You can also practice using the coping mechanisms learned in recovery for sustained sobriety.

Giving up alcohol isn’t easy. Alcohol addiction treatment starts with getting the right help. The levels of care at Vogue Recovery Center can match exactly your situation and your needs. Our skilled and experienced alcohol abuse counselors are available throughout the recovery process, making it as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Substance use disorders can be complex and difficult to treat. When co-occurring mental health disorders are involved, a treatment professional can be a huge help. Vogue Recovery Center can assist anyone on their journey to recovery. Contact our admissions team today to verify your insurance or to learn additional information about our alcohol and drug treatment options.


Evan Gove

Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.
Evan Gove

Latest posts by Evan Gove (see all)

Published by Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.

Medically Reviewed by Kelsey Jones, MS, LPC