Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS, is a lingering effect of substance abuse. Immediate withdrawal from drug and alcohol abuse is a frightening and difficult process, and many people require medical intervention to get through it. PAWS is a more insidious appearance of nagging discomforts through the first month to 6 months of recovery–sometimes longer. These symptoms include anxiety, sleep difficulties, memory disorders, agitation, increased sensitivity to stress, anxiety, and other physical manifestations. These symptoms can be a huge roadblock to recovery for many addicts and alcoholics.
Help On The Way
There is help for these symptoms. First, there are a number of medical interventions to help people through the possibly derailing experience of PAWS. Speaking with an addiction specialist in the medical field is a great step. Also, talk therapy, group therapy, and other forms of psychology can help a recovering addict contextualize the feelings associated with PAWS.
Discussing discomfort and learning to deal with the emotions experienced in recovery can not only help with PAWS, it can also help people in recovery improve their ability to transition to a more productive life.
Many people also benefit from 12-step programs and other types of action-based and community-based interactions. Hearing someone else’s experience with PAWS and being assured the symptoms do get better over time is a strong motivator to walk through them. Also, finding purpose in working through even the toughest parts of recovery can help people make it through low spots.
Long Term Happiness
The large majority of addicts and alcoholics report great improvement in PAWS symptoms over time. Getting help, keeping busy, and learning a bit about what is happening are great steps toward success. If it is overwhelming for you or a loved one, please reach out for help.