People with drug or alcohol addictions consider themselves better off after they give them up, but recovery is a long game. It is not something that just happens. It takes years of dedicated effort to focus on sober living. It all starts with detox, which is basically the withdrawal of the body from substances. Within a day of stopping alcohol consumption, the brain and body will respond with some symptoms that may be challenging for some to cope with, which is why it is safer to detox in a rehab facility where medical staff can oversee the process. Find out what happens to a person’s mood during withdrawal and how to cope with the changes. 


Depression during withdrawal is described as sadness, but not overwhelmingly so. It is not so bad that, when monitored, a person cannot get through it. People who quit drugs sometimes describe the feeling of being hopeless. It is often accompanied by a lack of energy or enthusiasm for life. If drinking or drugs were central to your life, it can feel a bit scary. People going through withdrawal often have feelings of doom, gloom, and low self-worth. When preparing for this part of withdrawal, it is helpful to be around supportive people who don’t trigger old habits and support the experience with joyful, fun experiences like watching funny movies. It is okay to be reminded of good feelings during this time. Overall, it is helpful to see the process as grief; not unhealthy, but part of the process of becoming stronger in recovery. 


Everyone in withdrawal will experience some type of anxiety. This is different than nervous feelings. Anxiety during withdrawal helps a body adjust and people who will have used drugs or alcohol to self-medicate may be afraid of coping with this feeling. Physical symptoms of anxiety, including shortness of breath and feeling like the mind, is playing tricks can be challenging for a time, but it is short-lived. It is a normal part of healing to break through to the other side. 

Mood Swings

People going through withdrawal often feel exhausted, like they have no energy, and as if life is not worth living. It is important to remember that life is worth living, even though things may be swinging like a pendulum. The feelings will pass. It is just living through them at the moment that can be tough. When mood swings do not get much better on the way out of withdrawal, psychologists and psychiatrists can help even things out with therapy and medication. Working on underlying causes of addiction will eventually help moods even out as much as possible. 

One Week Later

Following the first week, support will shift because the needs change. When seeking treatment options, it will be helpful to sign up for a place where they support the journey with therapy, medication (as needed), and provide a safe space to explore the challenges of addiction. While some people do this on their own, the added support can be helpful since the body will be susceptible to cravings and triggers during this period. Avoiding relapse should be the primary goal during this time. 

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Focusing on yourself is the first step to healing. Don’t want to get treatment if you need it right now. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702