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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” Addiction, clinically known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex, chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli without regard for consequence. An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her drug cravings above all else. This will affect all areas of one’s life and can lead to damaged relationships, financial strain, legal complications, and a slew of adverse health consequences. The way addiction works are that it alters one’s brain functioning to accommodate the excessive use of drugs or alcohol. Substance use disorder does not develop overnight, nor should an individual expect his or her recovery from addiction to occur instantaneously.

The Emotional Roller Coaster

While there are inevitable ups and downs in life, the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany alcohol and drug rehabilitation can be surprising and overwhelming to those in addiction recovery. As the body and mind adjust to living a substance-free life, there can be rapid changes in mood. American Addiction Centers asserts that the extreme emotions of early sobriety can be attributed to several different factors, some of which include the following examples:

  • Lingering withdrawal symptoms
  • Sudden resurfacing of deep emotions that have been suppressed or numbed by drugs and/ or alcohol
  • Realizing the need to let go of friendships that interfere with one’s sobriety
  • Being faced with a vast amount of free time that was once used to accommodate one’s addiction
  • Guilt that can come from having to face up to the past 
  • Relief from escaping an addiction
  • Adverse effects of nutritional deficiencies caused by habitual substance abuse become noticeable
  • Pink cloud syndrome, or pink clouding, is a term that originated in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and is used to describe temporary feelings of elation and euphoria toward the recovery process by those in the early stages of sobriety.

It is important to note that although many people in the early stages of recovery experience extreme emotional highs and lows, in time, the emotional landscape does flatten.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.