Managing Depression in Recovery

Author: NP Addiction Clinic
Published: January 6, 2022

In recovery, your brain and body have to adapt to life without drugs or alcohol, an adjustment that takes patience. It’s also important to develop positive ways of thinking and a sober way of living as you rebuild your life and work on yourself like never before.

Recovery is rewarding and worthwhile, but it can at times be emotional and overwhelming at times. This makes sense when you think about all the changes going on in your life. This is why it’s essential to practice self-care during this challenging time. Looking after your mental health is crucial, not only for your wellbeing but to avoid a relapse.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. You cannot look after your body if you are not looking after your mind. When recovering from addiction, you need a good mindset to stay on track.

If you find yourself suffering from depression, tell your support system. Reaching out for help could reduce your risk of relapse.

Signs of Depression in Recovery

Depression presents in many different ways. The signs you experience may be entirely different from the signs that another person encounters. However, common signs of depression include:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Limited enthusiasm
  • Feeling defeated
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lack of self-care and personal hygiene

If you experience any of these signs, it is important to seek professional help and guidance.

How To Manage Depression in Recovery

As mental illness and addiction are often comorbid, it is essential to understand how to manage depression in recovery. Below, we have shared just a few ways you can do so.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness might sound dubious, but studies have shown its benefits when treating mental health issues such as depression. In addition to treatment programs, such as mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (MCBT), you can take simple steps to practice mindfulness at home or wherever you go. These include:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Focusing on your present feelings, thoughts, surroundings, and actions
  • Accepting your emotions and allowing yourself to think them without judgment
  • Having compassion for yourself like you would a friend

The goal of being mindful is to be in the present without judgment. For example, realize that even though you are in the process of recovery, you don’t have to wait until a certain time or milestone to be happy. Happiness can be found now.

Write a Journal

You don’t have to write a diary of everything you do each day, especially if it doesn’t benefit you. Instead, you could create a journal specifically dedicated to your thoughts and feelings. Keeping a journal brings relief for many people, especially if something has been bottled up for a prolonged period.

If you are considering writing a journal, maybe you could start a gratitude journal and write at least one thing you are grateful for each day. Writing in a journal could become part of your daily routine and even practicing mindfulness. It could be a way to acknowledge and accept your feelings without judgment.

A journal might also be useful for self-reflection, realizing your emotional triggers, and managing expectations.

Talk To a Professional

As useful as mindful meditation and keeping a journal are, there is no substitute for professional help. Mental health issues are like any other health issues and require appropriate treatment. Your doctor or detox facility will be able to point you in the right direction of a therapist who specializes in addiction recovery.

Make use of your other support outlets, such as support groups and your support system. Talk to your family and friends. They want to help you, but they can’t if you don’t communicate how you feel with them.

To Conclude

Managing depression in recovery is possible with the right support, guidance, and care. If you feel unable to turn to your family and friends, support group, or therapist, please make sure that you get help elsewhere.

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