Signs you might have dry drunk syndrome

There are people who drink and there are those who give up drinking after a point in life. Amongst those who give up, there are some who go on to lead a normal life with least amount of fall backs and unfortunately there are also those who give up alcohol, but continue to experience the severe psychological and behavioural issues stemming from alcoholism. This is known as the dry drunk syndrome. 

In case the situation seems familiar, read on to understand how DDS is a problem and in case you are in the middle of one, you need help.

An overplayed sense of superiority is a common experience that a recovering alcoholic may experience. With feelings, rooted in the failure to gain complete control over ones perception of reality, he/she tends to overplay the basic sense of self importance. Not to mention, that Dry Drunk Syndrome is a recovery issue, and a major hindrance in the recovery process is anger management. What is the source of this anger? Quite often it is the alcoholic’s intolerance, stemming from wrong evaluations and judgemental thinking during their interaction with people.



As per a recent study conducted by Hope Trust India,  people going through DDS will most likely be unable to demonstrate emotions and will lack a spark in their life. This comes coupled with difficulty at introspection and an inability to appreciate or enjoy anything fully. This extends to the fact the dry drunks often inflate their sense of victimhood. This means that they justify their own reckless conduct and at the same time find fault in others. When accepting their own faults, they would try to escape by listing in great detail the faults of others. This means that they assign an unbalanced amount of emotional furore to minor perceived transgressions.

Similarly, these behaviours can accompany the DDS

  • Sudden switch between depression and exhilaration.
  • Distorted and distracted thinking.
  • Fear of emotional attachment with people.
  • Flight from reality.

However, the helplessness of the addict lies in the fact that they would continue with business as usual despite seeing the reality of their situation crystal clear. For the DDS sufferer, it is their inability to seek help or to be convinced that they need no therapy or counselling at all, so that they feel powerless to do anything about it. This is what experts refer to as learned helplessness. A sense of powerlessness that keeps people imprisoned.

Learned helpless in DDS could be all or any of these

  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Severe procrastination
  • Constant frustration
  • Lack of control over future events
  • Feeling that nothing they would do will improve the situation.
  • Incompetence
  • Giving up easily
  • Loneliness

However, there are things that could be done to overcome this helplessness and move towards recovery. One must realise that just because they quit drinking life does not have to be miserable. Life is going on everywhere outside of you, and waiting to be claimed. Also, helplessness, no matter how ensnaring, can be unlearned.

  • The Alcoholics Anonymous program has a huge record of successful score at de-addiction and coping with DDS. So as a first step towards recovery take membership Alcoholics Anonymous, and then go to a meeting or speak to your co-ordinator.
  • If AA is not your way of doing things, then try getting in touch with organisations like Hope Trust India, or another recovering alcoholic who will understand your situation and give you advice. Someone who can understand their situation brings along a major boon in such situations of crisis.
  • Work on your knowledge. Join a literary circle or a library. Work on your talents and skills.
  • It is also a good idea to spend time with your family. Make up for all those hours and years you spent brooding in depression. Take the kids out to their favourite ice cream parlour and speak to your parents over the phone.