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.

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