Drug Rehab Scottsdale Looks at Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Drug Rehab Scottsdale Looks at Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Drug Rehab Scottsdale Looks at Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

When a person faces the prospect of quitting drugs or alcohol, it’s easy to focus on the acute detox process. Detox is known for being unpleasant but mercifully short-term, usually lasting up to two weeks until the system is clear. It’s tempting to think that if you can get through this rough part at a drug rehab scottsdale, the rest should be easy in comparison.

Unfortunately, the difficult journey doesn’t stop there. What many people don’t realize is that there can be a second phase to withdrawal that happens after the worst of the acute symptoms subside. This second phase is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome and Desert Cove Recovery, drug rehab Scottsdale, can help walk you through this difficult stage.

What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

Long after detox is finished and drugs or alcohol have been completely flushed from the system, symptoms of withdrawal can linger. These symptoms can cause discomfort and cravings in even the most resolute people. This syndrome gets its name because it happens after the acute stage of withdrawal. It encompasses anything that happens in the protracted weeks or months following the successful detox.[1]

PAWS occurs because long-term drug use changes the chemistry of the brain. As your brain chemicals attempt to return to normal levels in the absence of drugs, levels of those chemicals may fluctuate until they find equilibrium.[2]

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Drug Rehab Scottdale Looks at Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Who is Most Likely to be Affected by PAWS?

Because PAWS is a result of your brain chemistry returning to normal after a long period of substance abuse, long-term drug or alcohol users are the ones most affected months after the addiction ends.

Additionally, certain drugs are more likely than others to affect the brain in a way that will lead to PAWS down the road.

You may be more likely to experience post-acute symptoms if you were a long-term user or heavy user of:[3]

What Are the Symptoms Caused by PAWS?

As anyone who has quit using addictive substances can attest, fluctuations in brain chemistry can cause quite a number of symptoms:[2][3]

  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Severe mood swings with marked highs and lows
  • Fluctuations in energy levels from very high to very low
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low libido
  • Pain
  • Trouble focusing
  • Cravings
  • Anhedonia (lack of enjoyment)
  • Memory loss
  • Sensitivity to stress

Surges of euphoria and energy may seem pleasant at the time, but the plunge into the valley on the other side can make you feel like you’re riding a roller coaster you can’t stop.

Sometimes you may feel like a specific event triggered a fluctuation, but other times they seem to come and go for little to no reason. When this happens, remember that it is your brain’s best attempts to find a healthy balance. It’s all part of the healing process. Some trial and error is to be expected.

Try not to be too hard on yourself during this time. Not everyone may realize that you will still be feeling the effects of withdrawal months after your last dose. If possible, explain to your loved ones that your moods may be unpredictable, and ask them to have patience as you fully recover.

The highs and lows of this roller coaster may come quickly at first, over the course of minutes or hours. Over time, the waves will come further and further apart, and you will be able to catch your breath and steady your mind for a while.[2]

Extended-Care Drug Rehab Scottsdale Can Help You Manage PAWS

Though peace and calm wait on the other side of those waves, it’s not always easy to stay afloat when you’re in the middle of the storm. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone.

If you or a loved one have recently detoxed from an addictive substance or plan to detox and quit using in the future, an extended-care rehab facility can help with the lengthy process of recovery.

Struggling at home to suppress the uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms might seem like the right thing to do. But in reality, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Unfortunately, PAWS can increase the risk of relapse simply because many people are tempted to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism.[2]

If you had the option to choose a lower risk of relapse and a higher rate of success with achieving sobriety, wouldn’t you choose it from the very beginning?

Use the resources available to you. Build a support network that will help you manage your symptoms and cravings long-term. At Desert Cove Recovery, we offer extended-care outpatient drug rehab in Scottsdale, AZ that guides and supports you throughout the entire process. Join us today or ask for more information using our online contact form.



[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/some-assembly-required/201505/detoxing-after-detox-the-perils-post-acute-withdrawal

[2] https://www.thesoberworld.com/2020/07/01/post-acute-withdrawal-and-the-family/

[3] https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-22104