That’s one word that describes us during recovery. With good reason, too.
We put in a lot of work at our drug rehab or addiction center. We’ve faced the things which drove our addiction. We’ve opened ourselves up to receiving help from strangers – that’s no easy thing to do. Real milestones and major changes have been accomplished in a short amount of time.
The experience has likely left a lot of us feeling a little raw. The changes of recovery, especially in the early stages, can be overwhelming, and sometimes it leaves us feeling a little depressed.
Depression & Addiction Often Go Hand In Hand
Depression and substance abuse seem to have a relationship. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) around half of the people who have a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental condition, such as depression. While it’s unclear if one causes the other, this combination of conditions (called a “dual diagnosis”) is common.
Most addiction treatment centers treat both conditions simultaneously. When a person advances in recovery to the point where they’re ready to experiment with independent living again, this milestone can cause a person to feel a lot of stress, as well as triggering feelings of depression.
Sober living homes provide a middle ground between living on one’s own and living in the structured environment of rehab. While knowing you have a safety net can remove a lot of the stress around living independently, it’s also possible to experience feelings of depression.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?
Depression isn’t just a bad mood – it’s a serious mental condition with physical and mental symptoms. Some people may only have one depressive episode in their life; others may have multiple and/or prolonged periods of depression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of depression can include:
- Having feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
- A loss of interest in doing things you used to enjoy
- Sleep problems, like insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Angry outbursts and feelings of frustration
- Feeling like you have no energy, or feeling restless and agitated
- Slowed thinking
- Aches and pains
- Thoughts of suicide
These symptoms can be minor … or they can cause serious disruption to daily life. For those of us in recovery, depressive episodes are particularly serious. Given the relationship between depression and addiction, it’s important to have coping mechanisms ready to deal with depressive episodes if and when they crop up.
How to Manage Depression in Recovery
First, occasional moments of depression are common in recovery. Addiction played an enormous part in our lives, and when we left it behind, we had a large hole in our lives. Feeling as though there’s something missing in our lives is normal. Plus, we might miss engaging in substance abuse and feel guilty about it. Again, that’s fairly common.
Fortunately, there’s a few things anyone can do to stave off depressive episodes. These include:
- Participate in group meetings: Whether you participate in 12-step or more secular addiction support groups, it’s important to keep on doing so. These meetings are positive social outlets that keep us on the right track and also give us a healthy, effective social support system.
- Stay active: Exercise and physical activity won’t just keep you fit – they’ll make you feel great, too. When you engage in intense exercise, you release feel-good chemicals in the body called endorphins. Better yet, exercise over time creates stronger nerve cells and improves their connections, which helps treat the symptoms of depression.
- Try meditation: Meditation has real medical benefits to it. It’ll also help you deal with depressive thoughts and moods. You probably experienced guided meditation systems at your rehab center, but once you’re in transitional housing, you might have to drive your own sessions. Some sober living houses offer mediation sessions, too.
- Remember self-care: Sober living homes are a form of communal living, and while that’s great for avoiding feeling lonely while in a sober home and staying accountable, it’s important to have a little you time occasionally. Self-care helps – finding positive, fun things to do while you’re in the sober home will help you stay positive and give you a chance to get away from it all. Just remember to avoid potential addiction and relapse triggers.
- Use your resources: One of the great things about a sober home is you have a lot of resources to use if you need help. Your roommates have all been through what you’ve gone through and are good people to talk to if you’re feeling down or struggling. Better yet, talk to your house manager. House managers basically run sober homes – they assign chores, mitigate disagreements, and make sure everybody follows the rules. They’re also veterans of recovery themselves and are great sources of advice, comfort, and information.
Need To Find A Sober Home? You’re in the Right Place
As we’ve said, depression is a serious condition. Left untreated, it can undo the hard work of recovery and leave you at square one. Sober living can help manage its symptoms, but it’s not always easy to find a sober living home to live in.
Recognizing how tough this search can be inspired us to create SoberLivingNearMe.com. The largest collection of sober home resources online, we’ll help you find a sober home suitable for you, your needs, and your budget. All you need to do is hit search.
Find your sober home today with SoberLivingNearMe.com!