Dealing with Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome


While medical detox mitigates the un

comfortability associated with the immediate withdrawal from your substance of choice, many addicts in early recovery experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms for several weeks or even months after cessation of use. Though not as debilitating as full blown withdrawal, post-acute withdrawal syndrome can interfere with a person’s ability to get a restful night’s sleep as well as their focus throughout the day, two important factors which contribute to your success in early recovery. Here are some tips to minimize the impact post-acute withdrawal syndrome has on your life and your recovery.


One of the main ways PAWS interferes with a person’s daily life is through interrupting a healthy, regular sleep/wake cycle. Without a quality night’s sleep, we lack energy throughout the day and find ourselves ineffective and dysfunctional, unable to properly complete our routine and work towards our goals in life and recovery. You are not entirely at the mercy of PAWS when it comes to your sleep habits. While it may be difficult at first, it will go a long way towards helping you fall and stay asleep if you are able to physically tire yourself during the day through cardiovascular exercise. For short-term temporary relief from substantial sleep interruptions as a result of PAWS, your treatment center should be able to offer you a non-habit forming sleep aid.


Another obstacle to success in daily life and recovery posed by PAWS is a diminished focus and mental clarity in your daily life. The neurochemical imbalances resulting from our discontinued substance abuse can take several months to correct, and in the interim those in early recovery often feel hazy and mentally unclear throughout the day. While there is no silver bullet for these symptoms, your diet plays a large role in your body’s ability to recover quickly from the effects of your substance abuse. Ensuring you are consuming a balanced and nutritious diet can help both minimize and shorten the duration of these irritating symptoms of PAWS, enabling you to fully focus on your life in recovery and the work you are doing to secure your sobriety.


PAWS is an unfortunate reality for many recovering addicts and alcoholics, often one of the first roadblocks encountered on your journey in sobriety. While the only true cure for PAWS is time, there are some tools and techniques available to mitigate the irritating effects this diagnosis has on your daily life. PAWS may detract from your quality of life, but it should not discourage you in your continued work in a 12-step recovery program of your choice. So long as you remain committed to your sobriety, you will overcome any challenges encountered in life, including this temporary condition resulting from your substance abuse. Soon it will be a distant memory along with the other suffering you endured at the hands of your addiction as you grow in recovery and achieve a life beyond your wildest dreams!



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