How to deal with clinical depression while staying sober

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Lots of addicts are also plagued by clinical depression. The things in your life which make you depressed—such as childhood trauma, loss of a loved one, or trouble with your relationships—are often also things that make you want to drink. Dealing with depression while you are going through addiction recovery can be extremely difficult, because many addicts use alcohol or drugs to try to cope with depression. Here are five ways to deal with depression while maintaining your sobriety:

1. Visit a counsellor

Sometimes you need professional help, and you should never be afraid to ask for it. A counsellor or a psychologist can be a huge help when it comes to dealing with depression. They can work with you to figure out the root cause of your depression, and figure out how best to cope with it.

2. Anti-depressants

Anti-depressants are not right for everyone, but they can be very helpful in dealing with depression. You might want to ask your doctor if an anti-depressant is the right choice for you.

3. Practice mindfulness

Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can be just as effective at treating depression as anti-depressants are. Mindfulness is also a great practice for anyone who has committed to sober living, because it helps you put aside negative emotions and lower your stress levels.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercise releases endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Exercise, like mindfulness, naturally reduces your stress levels, so this is another good habit for anyone who is trying to stay sober. Exercise does not have to be an extremely strenuous activity in order to be effective. It can be as little as taking a 20 minute walk every day.

5. Try new things

Adding novelty to your life can actually change your brain chemistry. Trying something new can actually increase your dopamine levels, which are associated with pleasure and enjoyment. Also, a crucial rule to remember in addiction recovery is to never fall back into your old bad habits. So look for new, sober activities, like cooking, reading, volunteering, or taking classes in subjects you’ve never learned about before.

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