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Sober & Anger: How to Control Mood Swings in Recovery

Sober & Anger: How to Control Mood Swings in Recovery

Sober & Angry: How to Control Mood Swings in Recovery

Your mood can change in an instant for a variety of reasons.

While we all experience occasional bad moods, people who are in early recovery for a substance abuse problem often struggle with irritability, depression, and mood swings on a more regular basis. Mood swings are a common withdrawal symptom during and even long after a drug detox as the body tries to adjust to life without the abused substance. Unfortunately, without proper coping techniques, these addiction recovery mood swings can cause serious problems and even derails the recovering addict’s progress.

Dealing with Mood Swings in Recovery

Negative emotions are often an unavoidable part of early sobriety, but knowing how to control mood swings in recovery can not only make your journey easier but also help you to avoid relapse.

Take a Deep Breath

Sometimes the best way to control mood swings in recovery is to stop and take a deep breath. This short break can help you get back to center and collect yourself.


Finding an outlet for your anger or depression can help you channel these negative emotions into a healthier option. When this becomes a habit or is done preemptively, it can help stop mood swings in recovery altogether or greatly mitigate the effects. There are several options to choose from, but one good outlet to try is exercise. Exercise is proven to boost mood and improve newly sober depression.1

Use the Skills You Learned in Treatment

Your treatment program should have exposed you to a variety of therapies that can not only promote long-term sobriety but also help with secondary issues in recovery like mood swings. While you may have actively been using them during your programs, you shouldn’t stop just because your program is over. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to interrupt negative thought patterns that may prompt these recovery mood swings while yoga can help you relax and collect yourself.

Talk to Others

Sometimes the best way to deal with negative emotions is to talk to someone. Reach out to someone you trust or find a professional if you are really struggling. Letting out these emotions can help release you from them while also helping you recognize why you are feeling this way. Speaking to someone regularly about your recovery mood changes could also help you become more self-aware and better equipped to address these issues on your own.

Reflect on Your Emotions

If you notice that you are suddenly in a bad mood, it is important to take the time to recognize why are you are feeling the way you are, what prompted this change in mood, and how you can avoid it in the future. Taking the time to reflect on these negative feelings can help you discover any faulty logic that may have prompted or escalated them. Journaling is a good option for personal reflection because expressive writing has been proven to improve mood and increase psychological well-being.2


While dealing with mood swings in recovery is common, be careful how you let your anger or depression affect you. Part of recovery is learning to take responsibility for your actions, so if you lash out at someone, be sure to apologize later. We all make mistakes, but it important not to let your own frustrations sabotage the relationships you are working on mending.

If you already know you struggle with a mental health disorder, addiction treatment alone will not be sufficient. A program like our Boca dual diagnosis treatment can help you work through both problems at once and avoid disastrous mood swings in recovery that can quickly lead to relapse.  

At Banyan Boca, we help people overcome substance abuse problems and prepare for life outside of rehab. If you or a loved one is ready to get sober, call us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. ScienceDaily - This is your brain on exercise
  2. Business Insider - 'Expressive Writing' Is A Super Easy Way To Become Way Happier

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Sober & Anger: How to Control Mood Swings in Recovery
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