When it comes to withdrawal from substance abuse, there are two stages. The first stage is acute. During this stage, physical symptoms of withdrawal are observed which usually lasts for a couple of weeks. However, the intensity and symptoms of withdrawal are different for everyone, and they also depend on the type of drug which is abused.
The second stage of withdrawal is known as the Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). As the name suggests, this stage comes after the acute stage. In this stage, the physical symptoms are reduced while emotional and psychological symptoms of a withdrawal are observed.
Why is the Post-Acute Withdrawal Stage Observed?
The PAWS stage is an indication that your brain is gradually returning to normal and the effects of alcohol or drugs withdrawal are fading away. The emotional or psychological symptoms are observed during PAWS because of the fluctuation in the level chemicals in the brain as the brain functioning continues to improve gradually. Once the functioning of the nervous system reaches an optimal level, the symptoms associated with PAWS also fade away.
What are the Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?
The symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal vary with each individual. Some of the most commonly observed symptoms of PAWS include:
- Rapid mood swings, irritability and extreme anger
- Anxiety and depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of memory
- Obsessive thoughts
- Extreme obsession and craving of the drug
What to Expect During Post-Acute Withdrawal?
The symptoms of PAWS are intermittent and appear in an episodic manner. The worst part is that you may never know when the next attack strikes. Each episode of post-acute withdrawal usually lasts for a few days and continues to appear cyclically. During the early days of PAWS, it is an emotional and psychological roller coaster ride. Your mood will tend to change each minute, owing to the rapid fluctuations in the chemical levels in the brain. You may feel that life is spiraling out of control.
As time passes, the duration between each episode of the post-acute withdrawal attack becomes longer. However, when it strikes, each episode can still be as severe or long as it was in the initial stage. But at this stage, you will already have realized that this condition is only temporary and it will go away in a few days.
These cyclic episodes associated with post-acute withdrawal usually last for about two years. Hence, it is necessary that people who are recovering from drug or alcohol withdrawal keep in mind that this condition does not go away at once. Rather, they have to keep fighting this condition for a long time.
How to Cope with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?
The symptoms associated with PAWS are usually completely new for recovering drug or alcohol addicts. This is why most people are unable to get through the detox process completely. Here are a few things which can help in making your life easier during PAWS:
- Brace Yourself -Many recovering addicts are able to bear the acute symptoms of a withdrawal, but usually end up relapsing during the post-acute stage. The reason? They were not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster ride they have to go through this stage. Therefore, the first step in getting through with PAWS is to brace yourselves. Although the emotional symptoms may be overwhelming initially, you should prepare yourself to brave through them. You will soon realize that these symptoms only last for a few days during each attack. But you have to remain steadfast and motivated during the post-acute withdrawal stage if you want to get through it successfully.
- Activity is the Key to Getting Healthy! – There are two main benefits of exercising, apart from the obvious improvement in physical wellbeing. Firstly, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins which elevate the mood and reduce anxiety and depression. Secondly, exercising also helps you in healing the damage which was done to your brain because of drug or alcohol addiction.
- Be Positive – don’t let the anxiety or depression control you. You can take emotional support from a friend or loved one. You can also join a support group and share your feelings with people who are suffering or have suffered from the same problem in the past. Don’t underestimate the power of emotional support. Keep a positive outlook that you can get through with this.
- Identify the Trigger Points – try to identify any trigger points which may initiate an attack or worsen your condition. Removing or avoiding these trigger points and stressful situations as much as possible can help reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks.
- Sleep Well – in addition to replenishing our strength, sleep also helps our body in repairing damaged cells. When you take a good night’s sleep, you’re actually giving plenty of time to your body to repair the damaged brain cells which were affected due to chemical dependency on alcohol or drugs.
- Eat Healthy – your diet has a direct impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. By removing caffeine, alcohol, drugs and other stimulants from your life, you can reduce the severity and frequency of the episodic attacks of PAWS. You should take a balanced diet which contains both vegetables, fruits, proteins, whole grains, carbohydrates, and fats. But remember, an excess of anything is bad for you!
Seeking Expert Help for PAWS
You do not have to brave through this difficult time alone. Seeking professional support for managing PAWS will help you get through this quickly and with reduced symptoms. This is because professional wellness centers have specifically designed healing protocols which minimize the symptoms and accelerate the healing process.
If you’re in Louisiana and you’re seeking professional help for PAWS, then Springfield Wellness Centre should be your first choice. We have a proprietary treatment protocol based on IV infusion of BR+ NAD which is highly effective in getting rid of any type of addiction or nervous disorder. Contact us right away and let us our qualified medical professional take good care of you. A healthy and happy life awaits you at the other end of your treatment.