Many of us who have gone through the acute phase of withdrawal in detox, go on to experience post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) in early recovery. Acute withdrawal usually lasts for roughly two weeks after your last drug use, and PAWS may start in around two months after last use. Just as everyone’s experience with acute withdrawal is different, PAWS is no different.
The timeline for PAWS varies. It may begin around two months, or it could start a little sooner or later. You may notice changes in your mood, sleep schedule, memory, reaction to stress, and concentration, amongst others. This may sound discouraging, but these symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks, several months, or over a year. What isn’t discouraging, is that all of the symptoms in PAWS are manageable, and they can explain a lot about your recovery.
You may be wondering how PAWS can explain anything about your recovery. It can be comforting to attribute some of what you are going through on post-acute-withdrawal.
As newly clean and sober addicts and alcoholics, we are on the ride of a lifetime. There will be many ups downs on our journey, and the way we experience and handle them have a lot to do with PAWS. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, exhausted, stressed, sad, or any other uncomfortable feelings, they may be due to PAWS, and not a hiccup in your recovery.
Instead of thinking something is wrong with you, or these feelings will never end, remember that you are likely going through PAWS, and that it will get better. Your brain is still healing from drug or alcohol abuse, and though it takes time, this is only temporary. The key is to just keep holding on, while riding the wave of emotions as they come and go.
If you are experiencing PAWS, it may be helpful to write about it or talk to someone who is supportive of your recovery. Try to stay positive, and remind yourself that this too shall pass. Your PAWS may not last long, or if it does, you can recognize it for what it is, and move on. Be gentle on yourself, and remember to only take your recovery one day at a time. Sobriety isn’t a race, and we get to experience all of the growing pains of getting our lives back. If you are struggling, please give us a call, you do not have to do this alone.
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