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Understanding Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and How to Ease Its Effects in Substance Abuse Treatment

Last updated 1 year ago

The addictive nature of alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, prescription pain killers, and other drugs makes giving them up very difficult. When recovering addicts muster up the willpower to kick their addictions, they are in for a rude awakening. Physical and mental rewards do not come for weeks, months, or even years. Before a recovering addict can start to feel better, he or she must weather the unpleasant effects of Post-Acute Withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

PAWS Basics PAWS describes a set of physical and mental symptoms that most individuals experience when withdrawing from a long-abused substance. People experience PAWS because they have become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a drug, altering their brain chemistry and changing the way their minds and bodies respond to certain situations.

Common PAWS SymptomsOft-reported symptoms of PAWS include depression, anxiety, insomnia, heightened sensitivity to stress or pain, intense cravings, cognitive impairment, memory problems, and mood swings. Symptoms tend to be severe in the first days of sobriety, but affect different users differently and come and go without warning. Many individuals who relapse do so because of unbearable PAWS symptoms.

Coping with PAWS Since PAWS is unpredictable and its effects can be profound, it is important to seek treatment for as long as symptoms persist. Many recovering addicts find that their symptoms are largely manageable by the time they have been clean for five or six months, whereas others battle symptoms for years. Participating in a reputable drug rehabilitation program followed by continued outpatient therapy is generally the most effective method of coping with PAWS and its symptoms.

At Astoria Pointe, a residential drug and alcohol abuse treatment center in Oregon, recovering addicts have access to a knowledgeable team of treatment professionals and state-of-the-art facilities designed to keep the adverse effects of PAWS to a minimum. To learn more about our facilities or the rehabilitation programs we offer, which have been proven highly effective for thousands of men from Portland and elsewhere, call (503) 298-4393. Our sister rehab center, The Rosebriar, offers the same addiction recovery treatment options for women.

 

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