There is a lot of information available about the dangers of alcoholism. There is also information available about the importance of professional addiction treatment for the individual who is suffering from a drinking problem. The reality is there’s only one reasonable way for a problem drinker to fight back against their addiction. That would be through a reputable rehab center that offers a variety of treatment programs.

While all of the above information would seem to be common knowledge among most Americans, there are still some problem drinkers who believe they can resolve their drinking problems on their own. In their minds, the process is straightforward. All they need to do is stop drinking.

What these people fail to realize is just how dangerous it is to try to get through withdrawal on their own. They also fail to recognize that the relapse rate among people who try to rehab on their own is near 100%. It’s this type of attitude that accounts for why some folks end up encountering dry drunk syndrome. 

The following information is going to focus on those mentioned above dry drunk syndrome and why it holds the potential to create so many issues for the addiction sufferers that choose that path. 

What is Dry Drunk Syndrome

Arguably, the five to seven days a problem drinker goes through alcohol withdrawal are the most dangerous part of them trying to get sober. To help you understand just how perilous detox without help can be, you should take note of the following alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • Issues with anxiety and depression
  • Shaky hands and profuse sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia brought on by hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Drastic increase in blood pressure
  • Delirium Tremens, better known as the DTs
  • Confusion and difficulty with concentration

Why would anyone try to go through a detox process alone if these are the withdrawal symptoms they might encounter? Sometimes, it’s merely a matter of ignorance. Other times, the individual believes they can rehab on their own while saving time and money at the same time. Unfortunately, far too many people have to learn how complicated the rehab process is the hard way.

Dry Drunk Syndrome

The dry drunk syndrome occurs with alcohol addiction sufferers who successfully get through the detox process, diminishing their cravings for alcohol in the process. The fact their cravings seem to diminish gives them a false sense of security. It is this false sense of “resolution” that eventually leads them to encounter problems with their sobriety later on. 

The Missing Ingredient

If the addiction sufferer has gone through detox and reports no residual cravings for alcohol, why would they fall victim to dry drunk syndrome? The answer to this crucial question is there is something vital missing.

A viable addiction treatment process includes two steps. First, the addiction sufferer needs time to detox. The second step is just as if not more important than the first step. The addiction sufferer needs therapy. That’s the missing ingredient for someone who tries to rehab on their own. They can do therapy on their own.

Why is therapy necessary? People don’t become problem drinkers because they have nothing better to do on a given day. In almost every case, the problem drinker will drink regularly to hide from a personal problem or some mental/emotional disorder. Without therapy to help them resolve personal issues, their issues will continue to linger. When they allow that to happen, the first of many relapses are very likely just around the corner. 

The Role of Therapy

It needs to be understood that there is no cure for alcoholism. A problem drinker can only hope to arrest their alcoholism without having to deal with it again. If unresolved issues are the proximate cause of someone’s drinking addiction, doesn’t it make sense that those same unresolved issues would again prompt the individual to drink again? 

Of course, the answer is yes. The value of therapy is it allows clients to work with a licensed therapist. With open and honest communication, the therapy process should help the client gain an understanding of the root causes of their addiction. Using these root causes as a treatment target, the client will get the opportunity to develop better coping and life skills. A better set of coping and life skills should put the client in a better position to battle their triggers and any future temptations that might come along. That’s how people can avoid future relapse issues.

The Signs of Dry Drunk Syndrome

When someone believes they have licked their drinking problem by merely removing their cravings, the remaining personal and emotional issues will magnify. Through this magnification process, the dry drunk syndrome will start to manifest itself into some problematic behaviors. These behaviors form the surest signs that someone is suffering from their dry drunk syndrome. Note: these behaviors could be very similar to the ones someone might exhibit if they were still drinking. That’s why the addiction treatment community refers to these individuals as dry drunks.

The most common signs of dry drunk syndrome include:

  • The individual might show anger and resentment towards anyone who led them to stop drinking
  • They begin to resent the fact they have an addiction and won’t be able to drink again 
  • They show anger at alcohol for the struggles it created and continues to create
  • They maintain the fear of future problems because they can’t turn to alcohol as a source of escape
  • They show jealously and resentment towards people who seem to manage their lives without worry about alcoholism properly
  • They resent the fact they have to take responsibility for the actions they undertook while under the influence of alcohol

All of these signs hold the potential of forming a burden that’s too big for the addiction sufferer to bear. If the burden gets too heavy, it increases the likelihood the individual will move closer to a disastrous relapse. A relapse becomes another failure, and another failure gives the individual a level of fear about the rehab process. Never mind, they didn’t go through a real treatment program.

The point of the above discussion was to dissuade you from trying to arrest your addiction on your own. Based on our experiences with treating addiction sufferers, we can confirm your attempts to self rehab will fail and leave you dealing with dry drunk syndrome until you start drinking again or finally decide to reach out for the help you need.