Dry drunk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dry drunk is a informal expression which describes an alcoholic or former alcoholic who no longer drinks but otherwise maintains the same behavior patterns of an alcoholic.[1] They may have many different emotions during the period of them becoming sober.

The objective of groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is not just to help their members stop abusing drugs and alcohol. It is acknowledged in these programs that addiction is more systemic than a "bad habit" and is fundamentally caused by self-centeredness. Long term membership in Alcoholics Anonymous has been found to reform pathological narcissism, and those who are sober but retain characteristics of personality disorders associated with addiction are known in AA as dry drunks.[2][3] The term is used by Alcoholics Anonymous in relation to feelings of anger, depression and resentment.[4]

A dry drunk can be described as a person who refrains from alcohol or drugs, but still has all the unresolved emotional and psychological issues which might have fueled the addiction to begin with. These unresolved issues continue to have a hold on their psyche and hence, they act like "dry drunks."[5] In most cases, alcohol dependency is a substantial factor in the lives of the alcoholics and accepting sobriety comes with its own challenges and understanding of their personality. Despite leaving alcohol and de-addicting themselves, most of their personalities are an embodiment of their drunkard selves.[5]

The dry drunk is portrayed with feelings of profound depression and frustration and with the indecisive feeling of wanting a drink that they have given up. Several alcoholics drink for about 10-20 years before maintaining sobriety and get used to their personality and character traits that are embodied by their drunkard selves. During this phase of dry drunk, the addicts face restlessness, frustration, anger, impatience and craving. The symptoms of dry drunkenness are irregular and become less intense as the period of sobriety increases. Most of the symptoms of dry drunkenness can be noticed in the initial phase of sobriety. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David W. Brook; Henry I. Spitz (23 September 2002). The Group Therapy of Substance Abuse. CRC Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7890-1782-6.
  2. ^ Turnbull, Liz (1997). "Narcissism and the potential for selftransformation in the Twelve Steps". Health. 1 (2): 149–165. doi:10.1177/136345939700100202.
  3. ^ a b Flaherty, J.A.; McGuire, H.T.; Gatski, Robert L. (December 1955). "The Psychodynamics of The "Dry Drunk"". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 112 (6): 460–464. doi:10.1176/ajp.112.6.460. PMID 13275595.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Bill W. (1967). As Bill Sees it: The A.A. Way of Life-- Selected Writings of A.A.'s Co-founder. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. p. vi. ISBN 978-0-916856-03-8.
  5. ^ a b Bennett, Carole (2011-05-14). "Is there a "Dry Drunk" in your life?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-10-27.

Further reading[edit]