Dealing With Depression in Rehab

When you go through detox, your body removes any substances to which you became dependent. This is a challenging time as your brain's reward system has to reboot. As such, it's quite common for people to struggle to deal with depression in rehab while those changes are taking place.

Depression in rehab and after can come from things like:

  • Feeling alone and isolated from family
  • Dealing with detox
  • Feeling guilt as you move through your program and recognize the impact of depression
  • Facing failures in your recovery
  • Learning to change maladaptive behaviors

In these instances, your risk of not completing your program or relapsing after you leave your treatment center is heightened.

Day-to-day dealing with depression in rehab can lead to:

  • Regular irritability
  • Low energy
  • Poor appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood shifts
  • Low moods
  • Feelings of helplessness

So what can you do? There are several tips for dealing with depression in inpatient rehab.

Five Tips for Dealing with Depression in Rehab

There are different tips for dealing with depression in rehab, and what works for you may not work best for someone else, may not work every single day, and may need multiple tips to be effective.

Whatever you try, make sure that you do so from a place of love and compassion, knowing that each attempt at dealing with depression in rehab is a positive step forward.

Tip#1: Use Support Groups

Support groups can help you in nearly every town, and most treatment centers offer support group meetings on a regular basis at their facility. Support groups can target different addictions or mental health conditions for those who are affected or their families. Finding good support can be integral to the resources at your disposal when times are challenging. 

Tip #2: Write Yourself a Letter

When you have a good day, or you are feeling great, write a letter to your future self, something that you know will give you the right kind of support or uplift. 

When you write your letter, include tips on wellness that you like most or what things you've learned about yourself. Consider this example:

Dear Future Self

I know today is hard. That's ok. Give yourself permission to cry, be unproductive, or just sit and play with the dog. Sometimes, you just need to give yourself that small mental break before you can pick yourself back up and find the motivation to do stuff. 

When you feel up to it, go outside. Going outside always helps you, even if it seems impossible. Who cares what you look like? No, your socks don't need to match. Just put on some shoes and a jacket and walk around the street. Spend a few minutes with your eyes closed and the sun on your face. Then, see how you feel. 

You can do it. You matter. Your worth is not tied to being happy or productive all the time. 


Current Self

Tip #3: Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises or meditation can help you get rid of depression symptoms by focusing on the present. 

Mindful breathing is one example. It takes ten minutes per day and can help you become more aware of:

  • Your breathing
  • How it feels to spend time daily just being with yourself

Note: This is not about being relaxed but being present with openness and non-judgment. 

To begin, set an alarm for ten minutes and begin the following:

  • Start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Keep your spine upright in a dignified position, with your chin tucked slightly
  • Bring your gaze about three feet in front of you and close your eyes slowly
  • Notice how it feels when you inhale, how your belly swells
  • Notice how it feels when you exhale, with the belly contracting
  • Be with each inhale and exhale with the full duration
  • Follow whether short or long
  • If you notice your thoughts going elsewhere, bring them back gently to your belly, knowing that this is a natural way for the mind to work

Tip #4: Move More

When you are depressed, it's important that you move more often. A body at rest will stay at rest, and so too will one in motion. If you can, when you feel symptoms get stronger, do something as simple as 5 minutes of standing if you've been sitting for a long time, walking around outside if you can, doing jumping jacks or squats in your chair, yoga, or other exercise.

Tip #5: Be Outside

When you can, spend as much time in green spaces. Being outside in nature brings with it several benefits and mood-boosting opportunities. The more time you can spend sitting under a tree, next to a rose bush, or just looking at a pond, the better your symptoms will be. 

Overall, dealing with depression in rehab is a normal part of the process. Drug and alcohol abuse can have a significant impact on several systems in your body, causing a low mood, irritability, and issues with sleep quality. When you are dealing with depression in rehab, it's important that you try tips like these regularly until you find a combination of steps that helps you individually.

If you are struggling with addiction and you’re worried about depression during treatment, it can help to choose a dual-diagnosis treatment center. Facilities like Hammocks on the Edisto offer mental health treatment along side addiction treatment as they often go hand-in-hand. Learn more about our women’s drug rehab in South Carolina.