Physical recovery from the damages caused by addiction and alcoholism takes time. Even after our initial detox, we may face uncomfortable symptoms for a much longer period of time. The persistence of symptoms after detox is known as “Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.” The timeline for the persistence of PAWS symptoms varies from person to person, and it dependent upon an individual’s biology and history of drug use.
PAWS symptoms can persist, in some cases, for months to years. According to Dan Mager in a 2015 Psychology Today article entitled Detoxing After Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal, “These symptoms affect many people in the early phases of abstinence from numerous substances, but they occur in an extremely high percentage of those with histories of long-term opioid use. This is among the reasons why people with chronic pain who have been treated with opioid painkillers frequently have great difficulty getting off those medications.” Post-Acute Withdrawal symptoms can include impairment in concentration, memory, attention, sleep, appetite, and lead to depression, irritability, anxiety, and anger. Post-Acute Withdrawal occurs as a result of the chemical changes caused by substances. The brain becomes overactive in response to stress, putting the body into a state of “fight-or-flight.” Symptoms are, however, much less intense than acute withdrawal and are often entirely manageable.
Recovery is not only a healing process, but also one of personal and spiritual development. Many of us have a skewed definition of what normalcy means as a result of our addictions and alcoholism. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one.” Through recovery, we create a new sense of normalcy. When we were using and drinking, intoxication became our normal state—it was the only time we truly felt comfortable and at ease. Recovery causes us to find a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom that we had never experienced previously. In our sobriety, we pass beyond “normal” and discover a wondrous and exceptional life that we never thought possible.
Your life can be one of joy and freedom in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. The Lakehouse Recovery Center incorporates a variety of exciting activities and opportunities for growth into the treatment process. The Lakehouse believes in the importance of relearning how to enjoy life without the use of mind-altering substances. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707