Detoxing from an alcohol or drug addiction is indescribably difficult. After you get through it, you’re happy knowing that the worst of the physical pain is over. Detox is no small accomplishment by any means. Unfortunately, the end of detox doesn’t necessarily mean the end to withdrawal. Most alcoholics and addicts will then experience some degree of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
PAWS has a wide range of symptoms, and it will affect each individual differently. The severity of it will depend on the level of your addiction and how much damage was done to your nervous system during the course of your addiction. Most addicts experience PAWS immediately after detox, and the symptoms usually peak at about three to six months later. However, PAWS can last up to two years, and sometimes even much longer. PAWS tends to last the longest for the most extreme, long-lasting cases of addiction and for people over the age of 55.
There are six main symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome:
Difficulty with Clear Thinking – such as trouble with problem-solving, reasoning, processing thoughts, and concentrating.
Difficulty with Managing Emotions – such as feeling extreme emotions, overreacting, depression, feeling numb, or under-reacting.
– such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleeping too much, or not being able to keep a regular sleep cycle.
Difficulty with Physical Coordination – such as trouble with balancing, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and reflexes.
Difficulty with Memory – such as short-term or long-term memory loss.
If you’re an addict in early recovery who is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you’re likely suffering from PAWS. But you aren’t powerless over the symptoms. Managing PAWS is an important part of early recovery. Here are some things that can help ease the aftershocks
Your Support System – can help you stabilize your feelings. Talk to trusted friends, your family, your sponsor, and other supportive people to help you work through your difficulties.
Protecting Yourself – from threats to your sobriety is crucial to making it through PAWS.
Proper Nutrition – and a balanced diet that’s low in sugar, fat and caffeine will help reduce the symptoms of PAWS.
Regular Exercise – will also help reduce PAWS and relieve tension.
Counseling, whether it is individual, group, or both, will help you cope with your problems and keep you connected to your goals in recovery.
Educating Yourself about PAWS, addiction, and recovery in every way possible will help you maintain perspective on the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Balanced Living is important for everyone. If you try your best to keep good balance and stability in your life, you’ll be better able to handle the symptoms of PAWS.
It can be extremely frustrating to experience PAWS, and it can even make you question your desire or ability to stick with recovery. It’s normal to feel that way, but it’s important to push through PAWS and realize that it will improve over time. As long as you continue to utilize different coping methods, things will get better. Sober Nation, what are some of the things that help you deal with PAWS?