Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can be difficult to manage. We may feel tired, anxious, depressed, and have trouble staying positive. Being stuck in pessimism can spell disaster for our ability to effectively engage in a program of recovery, especially in the early stages of our sobriety. However, there are many ways that we can improve our mood without the use of mind or mood-altering chemicals. In early recovery, our brains are healing from the damage done by alcohol and drugs. Our brains may be unable to produce the “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and dopamine because we altered our brain’s chemistry with substances. The constant surges of pleasure chemicals into our brains left us unable to naturally produce adequate amounts in early sobriety. However, there are many ways to improve our moods without relying on substances. Social interaction may be one of the best ways to make us feel better at such a crucial time in our journey of recovery. A Reader’s Digest article entitled 16 Science-Backed Ways to Overcome Depression Naturally, suggest spending at least one hour each week with a close friend. The article explains: “In a British study, when 86 depressed women were paired with a volunteer friend, 65 percent of the women felt better. In fact, regular social contact worked as effectively as antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Regular social contact with a close friend may boost self-confidence and encourage you to make other positive changes that will help in overcoming depression, such as starting an exercise program.” When we combine social interaction with helping others, we may reap even more mood-boosting benefits. A 2017 Prevention article, 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood Fast, points out that “People who volunteer are likelier to be happier than those who don’t—regardless of how much money they make or other socioeconomic factors. Researchers believe volunteering boosts happiness because it increases empathy, which makes you appreciate all the good stuff in your own life.” In the recovery community, there are many ways we can be more social and help others simultaneously. Attending fellowship meetings, doing service work, and speaking with other men and women working to overcome addiction and alcoholism can be a great way to begin cultivating a more optimistic outlook on life and improving our mood. We may not want to get out there and help others, but we find that when we do, we always leave feeling much better than before.
Your story can be one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can make the decision to build a better life by seeking help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, is dedicated to providing you all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777