post acute withdrawal symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

The initial stage of quitting drug and alcohol abuse usually comes with withdrawal symptoms. Most resolve themselves within several days or a few weeks. However, many people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms and need proper clinical support to help cope with them. Creekside Recovery Residences offer a safe haven for people to live while working on their recovery. In addition, we provide access to medical and psychological treatment for those who need it. This provides people with an increased ability to stay on the sober path of living despite any withdrawal symptoms that occur.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

When a person goes through the detox process, it takes several days and involves experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms. Many of those symptoms end by the time the individual has finished detoxing or within a few weeks afterward. For many people, some of the symptoms continue for an extended period. When this happens, it’s called post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms or PAWS. 

PAWS may produce withdrawal symptoms that are milder in nature than acute ones. However, they can continue for a long time, making it difficult for a person to maintain sobriety. This proves particularly true if they do not realize what they are experiencing. While some PAWS can be physical in nature, a person may be more likely to experience psychological or emotional symptoms. This makes it vital that the individual be prepared for this possibility and have access to proper care for PAWS. 

Common Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms vary in relation to the individual person and their addiction. When someone stops abusing drugs or alcohol, it forces changes in their brain chemistry. How long it takes for the brain to readjust and begin to naturally produce feel-good neurotransmitters isn’t easily predictable. Because of this, a person cannot be sure if PAWS will occur or what symptoms it might produce. 

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty focusing and thinking
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Low sex drive
  • Unexplained body aches and pains
  • Cravings for drugs or alcohol

Treatment for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms

When someone develops post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms, one main concern is whether it can tip the person over into relapsing. For some people, especially if they are not forewarned, PAWS can cause them to want to return to substance abuse to relieve the symptoms. For this reason, it’s important for people to have available help to get through PAWS, should it occur as part of their recovery process. This treatment can come as part of a residential or outpatient program or during an aftercare plan. 

Someone dealing with PAWS can work to combat it through several avenues. The first is getting educated about it so they understand what is happening and that the process is temporary. Treatment programs often monitor for the condition, but it’s also important for each person to speak up if withdrawal symptoms linger for protracted periods of time. 

Someone with PAWS should make sure they attend their treatment sessions regularly. This includes outpatient treatment, individual therapy sessions, and medical care appointments. Additionally, medications can help people dealing with post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. Many types of FDA-approved drugs can help with both medical and psychological symptoms that come with PAWS.

Just taking care of one’s health can pay off by helping to regulate PAWS. This includes getting regular sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in activities that occupy the mind and keep the person from isolating. Attending support groups or group therapy provides a person with an outlet to discuss their challenges and receive support. 

How Is Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol Treated?

Treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol begins with going to a detox program. From there, people can transition into residential or outpatient care programs. In both of these cases, the individual should be monitored for post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. These can be addressed through a variety of types of therapy modalities. This includes talk therapy, holistic therapy, and medication management

Someone living in a sober living home can also take advantage of treatment for post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. Sober living homes provide a safe alternative for those who aren’t yet ready to return to their homes. They benefit from being around others who are living a sober life and need the stability that sober living homes provide them. While living in the homes, they have access to multiple types of outpatient care. This includes programs, physicians, and therapists who understand the intricacies of PAWS and how to treat it. 

Find Help for Substance Use Disorders Today

When someone makes the brave decision to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, they may worry about going through withdrawal symptoms. If post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms happen, it’s important the person has professional support for dealing with them. Creekside Recovery Residences provides access to treatment that helps people deal with a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Our goal is to help make getting sober a reality for everyone.

If you would like more information, please visit our admissions page today. We can answer your questions and help you get started on a program that will change your life.


Substance Abuse in College Students

The idea of going to college conjures up ideas of study sessions, making new friends, and building a bright future through education. Unfortunately, for many young people, it can also mean dabbling in drugs and alcohol. When this turns into addiction, lives can be sidetracked and educational goals put aside. Substance abuse in college students causes problems for many families, but treatment can help get the person back on track and healthy again.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is classified as a medical illness involving repeatedly consuming substances including drugs and alcohol. The drugs can include prescription or illegal drugs. Substance abuse affects a person’s brain and causes them to become reliant on drugs or alcohol. Addiction creates disruptions in the person’s private, work, school, and social lives. Substance abuse in college students commonly occurs, requiring the person to receive professional treatment in order to overcome it.  

Why Does Substance Abuse in College Students Happen?

The use of drugs such as marijuana, stimulants, and illegal drugs has increased on college campuses over the past decade. In fact, a study that monitored college students from their freshman to junior years found that nearly half of them met the criteria for having at least one substance use disorder.  

Any number of reasons can contribute to a young person developing a substance use disorder in college. For those who leave home to attend school, the freedom of living independently can invite experimentation. They lack the life experience and maturity to understand the downside of using alcohol and drugs, particularly in excessive amounts. 

For many college students, pressure to do well in school factors into the problem. Pressure can come from parents, fellow students, teachers, teammates, and themselves. Abusing substances can alleviate stressful or depressed feelings. Many students use stimulants to provide a boost of energy and a need for less sleep, which they feel helps them succeed in their school work. 

Peer pressure can also contribute to substance abuse in college students. Alcohol, in particular, flows freely on college campuses. Parties and dorms can provide easy access to substances and tremendous pressure to use them. Drug and alcohol usage also happens commonly in fraternities and sororities.

The Risks of Abusing Substances in College

Many young people who abuse substances may argue that they can handle it. However, being under the influence can cause them to miss signs that their lives are spinning out of control. In addition, they may be in denial about needing help. A major risk that comes with substance abuse in college students relates to school performance. Students who engage in regular substance use prove more likely to get lower grades. 

They also tend to miss class more often and spend less time studying. In addition, students struggling with addiction are less likely to graduate or find jobs after leaving school. They also are expelled from school more often than those who do not engage in regular substance use. 

Another risk relates to the person’s health. This can include short-term damage, such as frequent hangovers. As well, it can contribute to a general decline in physical health and long-term damage. Addiction can damage a person’s immune system and organs and puts them at risk of overdosing. Good mental health can also decline when a person becomes addicted. In fact, about half of those who have a substance use disorder also have at least one mental health disorder. 

Common Substances College Students Abuse

Substance abuse in college students can involve alcohol and any number of drugs. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal narcotics. Commonly abused substances include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine 
  • Methamphetamines
  • Marijuana
  • Pain killers
  • Prescription opioids
  • Inhalants
  • Hallucinogens, including MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD
  • Stimulants

How To Treat Substance Abuse in College Students

A student who reaches the point where they need treatment for substance abuse has options. The first step involves going to detox. This process takes five to ten days on average. From there, the individual may choose a residential or an outpatient program. 

For many students, returning to their homes, including a campus location, may need to be delayed temporarily. For them, a sober living home can make the most sense. Sober living homes are often located in modern, attractive houses in great neighborhoods. Many of these homes are gender-specific and pet-friendly

College students can seek treatment during the day while living at the home. This provides them with the vital addiction care they need while giving them a safe place to live. Sober living homes remove easy access to substances and potentially triggering situations. Each person living there is in recovery, making peer support part of the treatment. When they are in stable recovery, they can transition back to school, ready to accomplish their goals with a sober mind.

Get Help for Addiction in College Students 

Do you have a son or daughter who needs help getting off drugs or alcohol? Creekside Recovery Residences has a program that helps treat substance abuse in college students. We provide safe sober living homes for your child to live in while they work on getting well. Each resident can access outpatient addiction treatment for substance use disorders while living in a safe environment free from temptation.
For more information, visit our admissions page. We can answer any questions you have about how to help college students get sober and graduate.