Dealing With Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome in Early Recovery

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Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) describes a cluster of symptoms that can continue to plague a person new to recovery even after detox has been completed. It can range in severity—and longevity—depending on how much damage has been caused by drugs and/or alcohol and by the amount of stress a person experiences after completing a drug detox. While this is a very uncomfortable time period, it’s only temporary and doesn’t last forever. PAWS symptoms can be managed and minimized if you take the right approach to getting healthy both physically and mentally.

Symptoms of PAWS Include the Following:

  • Mood swings
  • Poor sleep
  • Low energy (or manic phases)
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome presents a challenge to the newly sober addict or alcoholic in that its symptoms are often the very things that the newcomer has sought in the past to medicate.

Alcohol or a drug can seem like a quick fix for any of the items on the list. Especially because early recovery also has a “pink cloud” phase, PAWS can be a rude and disheartening interruption to the honeymoon stage of new sobriety. The letdown can lead to relapse unless the individual is armed with an understanding of PAWS, the likelihood of its appearance, and the fact that—if dealt with properly—it will pass. With time, it will occur less often and be less severe.

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    Identifying Feeling is a Key Part in Coping with PAWS

    Alcoholics and drug addicts generally aren’t accustomed to naming a feeling and observing it as a transient experience. An active problem-drinker will be more likely to have a drink than to say, “I’m feeling irritable and should probably discuss it with someone else.”

    Accepting unwanted feelings as temporary emotional disturbances is a useful strategy, but if negative feelings are persistent and/or intense, they should be discussed with a trusted person (or professional).

    If alcoholism or drug addiction got severe enough to motivate one to seek recovery, no PAWS symptoms, no matter how hard they hit, can be worse than a relapse. Getting through the uncomfortable phases of PAWS is possible and people do it every single day. While this rough time is not pleasant and may bring about cravings to use, finding the inner strength to persevere is crucial. It’s also helpful to have strong aftercare and attend outpatient drug counseling when you’re newly sober. This will help with overcoming the symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

    Acceptance, patience, communication, self-care, and using the tools of recovery are needed to get through Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Our treatment specialists are knowledgeable about the difficulties of dealing with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. We assist men and women on the road to recovery every single day that could be facing PAWS in early recovery. If you’re interested in a confidential assessment, don’t hesitate to reach out around the clock.

    For more information about Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome, contact Restore Health and Wellness at (818) 408-4942. Visit our addiction treatment center in Thousand Oaks at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019. On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.

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