Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms: How You Can Manage Them

There are two stages to the withdrawal process of drugs or alcohol. The first is known as the acute stage, which is the stage that many people associate with the word withdrawal. This stage can last for a few days, weeks, or up to a month, and is when the majority of physical symptoms of withdrawal are experienced. The length and symptoms experienced during this stage will differ depending on the person, the length of use, and the substance being used, but some common symptoms of acute withdrawal are nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and loss appetite.

Once the acute stage is done, the individual then enters into the post acute withdrawal stage. Majority of people coming off of drugs or alcohol experience this to at least a certain extent. This stage also has the same symptoms across the board, unlike the acute phase that differs depending on the substance.

What Are Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms?

Post acute withdrawal symptoms, or PAWS for short, is a stage in the withdrawal process from substances where physical symptoms are replaced with emotional and psychological symptoms. It is generally caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. This means that as the brain is attempting to repair the damage that was caused by drug or alcohol addiction, it also has to contend with the psychosocial stress that is caused by the person’s attempts to get sober. As the brain is attempting to do this and reach equilibrium again without substances, it can create a number of unwanted symptoms.

What You May Experience

Not everyone will experience all of the symptoms but most people who are getting sober will experience some of them to a degree. The most common are:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood Swings
  • A problem remembering things
  • Overacting to situations or numbness
  • A sensitivity to stress
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Physical Coordination Issues

sick young woman laying on a couch

How Long Can It Last?

Any of these can last up to two years, but they usually reach their highest level of intensity three to six months after complete abstinence begins. This can be frightening to hear, but it is important to understand it. Being addicted to a substance can cause a great deal of damage to the mind and body and so the time needed in order to recover completely can be substantial. That being said, in a majority of cases the body can and will recover and the process is not as difficult as it seems. Managing the symptoms associated with it is important because if they are not, a person could be drawn back to a drink or drug.

How You Can Get Through It

One thing to understand in order to successfully navigate the stage of post acute withdrawal symptoms is that what you experience can come and go, sometimes seemingly without any reason. You could be feeling fine for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden out of nowhere you begin to experience any of the symptoms listed above. Knowing that this is a possibility is a great way to arm yourself against danger because many times when the symptoms occur, a person can begin to berate themselves for feeling that way. They may wonder if they are doing something wrong and that is why they are feeling that way and if it is persistent enough a person could eventually drink or drug again. Understanding that it is just a normal part of the recovery process is your best defense and can help you keep a clear head when symptoms arise.

Another thing you can do in order to successfully get through this is to have the proper supports in place. Whether this means living in a sober living home for a while, or just having a number of close people in your life, having support can make a world of difference. The reason being is that when you begin to experience any of these symptoms you have people who you can turn to so that you do not have to go through it alone. This, many times, can be the difference between success and failure.

It is also important to be easy on yourself during your first couple of years. Many times when a person gets sober they want to make up for what they perceive is lost time. This is sometimes a recipe for disaster because it not only puts a lot of unnecessary stress on the person, but it also is a great way to judge yourself harshly. It is important to remember that recovery takes time and so be as easy as you possibly can be on yourself. Give yourself the ability to take a break when you need and be sure to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating when you should, resting when you should, and taking time out of your schedule to relax and have fun.

Remember that time takes time and you won’t overcome all of these things in a day. Give yourself the space you need in order to heal and your experiences will not be as bad.

Are You Struggling With Addiction?

The first step to achieving sobriety and making it through the two stages of withdrawal is seeking out a good detox. Here at Coastal Detox our specialty is helping you through these beginning stages and equipping you with the tools necessary for you to continue your sobriety. If you think you need help overcoming your addiction or alcoholism then call Coastal Detox today at 1-877-978-3125. We are standing by to offer you the help you need.

Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
Verified
It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
Verified
This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
2022-02-26
Verified
My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
Verified
Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.
Melissa Lorina
Melissa Lorina
2022-01-13
Verified
I am the mom of an addict. My son arrived at Coastal Detox on his own...very torn...very broken...tired of being sick and tired.I can not rave about this place enough. From the 1st phone call, it all went great! Great staff, great nurses, very helpful at all times...very caring and loving. He has chosen to go forward with a program...which is amazing to me...this is a break through for sure! If your reading this and are trying to decide wether to come here or not...hands down...the answer is yes!!! This place is amazing and changed my world for sure! I pray all that enter these doors, finds recovery! It is possible and this place is amazing!!! They should have 10 Stars!!! Awesome experience for me to witness the 1st day of the rest of my son's life sober!!! I am so grateful for this place...pick them...pick recovery!!!💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
John Doe
John Doe
2021-12-02
Verified
The staff is very caring it’s extremely clean with delicious food ( healthy and comfortable). It’s 4 stars because the administration just needs some work. It’s still one of the best places I’ve been too. Thank you to ALL the staff you made me feel loved , safe , and helped me through some very difficult times. If you need a detox that cares this is the place to go!

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