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What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Withdrawal is one of the most difficult things to deal with in recovery. It occurs because the body is used to having a particular drug in its system. When the drug is no longer there, the body reacts by producing physical and mental symptoms that can be difficult to deal with.

For most people, withdrawal symptoms will go away in two weeks at the most. But heavy users may experience lasting symptoms which may be diagnosed as post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This article will answer the question, what is post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and provide tips for prevention.

What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is characterized by an unusually long withdrawal period. It can persist for weeks or months and can even go on after two years.

In addition to being unpleasant, PAWS can be extremely dangerous. People know that they can ‘cure’ their symptoms by going back to using. This puts them at high risk for relapse.

People who develop PAWS will rarely experience aches and pains associated with withdrawal. Acute symptoms are typically more mental than physical and include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors (in people recovering from alcohol)
  • Low sex drive
  • Difficulty maintaining social relationships
  • Drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Anger
  • Difficulty concentrating

Experts are not sure why PAWS occurs. It could be due to the brain and body chemistry becoming used to being sober. Stress may also contribute to its development.

PAWS has no real cure, but it can be managed. Medications and alternative therapies can be used to treat symptoms. Talk therapy can be integrated to handle emotional issues that are related to drug use.

If the person is successful in dealing with symptoms for as long as they persist, they will go away eventually. But if they relapse, they will start the cycle over again, and symptoms may come back worse than before.

How Can Professional Detox Centers Help Avoid Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

PAWS often occurs in people who have been doing large quantities of drugs for long amounts of time. So the sooner you can get help for your addiction, the lower your risk will be of developing the condition will be.

The choice to check into a rehab is yours. But once you do, you will find a lower risk of PAWS and other health conditions as well as an improved mental outlook. Here’s what you can expect from treatment.

Detox: The clinic will start with a detox program. It’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms during this process, but they are likely to go away within two weeks. A medical professional will be by your side to keep you as comfortable as possible and ensure relapse doesn’t occur.

Therapy: After detox is completed, patients begin a therapy program. A variety of therapies can be integrated, but often a dual diagnosis approach is taken. This simultaneously addressed the addiction and its underlying causes.

Aftercare: People may find the biggest challenges after they complete their rehab program. They may be dealing with stressors that make them want to drink or do drugs. They may run into old friends they used with and be tempted to go back to their old ways. The facility provides patients with aftercare, so they get the support they need to maintain sobriety.

How Altitude Recovery Can Help

There are many rehab facilities that can get you on the road to wellness and minimize the risk of PAWS developing, but Altitude Recovery takes an approach that sets us apart.

Altitude Recovery is a luxury drug and alcohol treatment program located in the upscale community of Camarillo, CA. We provide residential inpatient treatment that includes luxury amenities, semi-private and private rooms.

We offer customized programs taking a dual diagnosis approach that ensures long-term recovery. Other features include our expertly trained staff, our trauma-focused approach, and aftercare planning.PAWS is not pleasant to deal with, but you can lower your risk of developing it by getting treatment early on. Altitude Recovery will get you on the road to overcoming your addiction, providing an effective solution for your dependency issues. Call us to find out how we can help you move forward in enjoying the happiness you deserve.