Energy Levels

Most addictive drugs and behaviors wind up elevating or depressing the mood. Many addicts become confused about whether they are chronically depressed, or why they do not seem as “up” as someone else.

Natural or Operant Level

We like using the term “energy level” to describe how people seem to have different amounts of energy at different times. Sometimes you feel like going out and tackling the adventure of life, and other times you may wish you could just stay in bed.

Different people have different average levels of energy, and different extremes, ranging from very depressed to extremely manic. There are lots of individual differences in these natural patterns.

Drug Effects

All kinds of drugs, whether external or internal in origin, affect the mood, but usually the body tries to adjust back to its natural balance.

Danger of adjustment The danger is that a tolerance will develop, bringing the balance back to near normal, and that you will increase the dosage or become dependent on that drug.

When to adjust Only if the natural level of energy is so depressed or so manic that normal living and recovery are impossible, should you try to adjust this level.

How to adjust If you have a genuine abnormality in your energy level, you need to find a doctor who has some appreciation for the dynamics of addiction, and work with that doctor along with sponsors and others in the program to insure that you neither neglect nor overdo the medication.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition in which people experience significantly more depression in winter than in summer months. Treating this disorder can be as simple as increasing your exposure to indirect sunlight to a half hour or more per day in the winter months.

If this is impossible, any light that is several times brighter than normal room light will do — bright fluorescent light, for example. You do not need sunburn or eye strain to produce enough light to do the trick.

Moderation in Recovery

You may have to be satisfied with less dramatic highs to avoid terrible lows. Life is a dynamic balance, with large, medium, and small waves at various times in our lives, but usually changing.

Energy levels, see also: Affirmations, Behavior, Biochemistry, Crisis, Defenses, Dichotomous thinking, Drugs, Exercise & activity, Feelings, Higher Power, Mental aspects, Obsession, Program, Psychological problems, Relaxation, Sleep, Step Three, Step Six, Step Ten, Survival roles, Therapy & treatment.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

Creative Commons License
Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.