What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

by baladmin | November 12, 2014

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Many people have heard of alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms that occur within the first 5-7 days after the last use, but what about the long-term withdrawal that can happen for up to years after getting clean and sober? This is not nearly as well-known or talked about. This phenomenon is called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

What is Post-Acute Withdrawal?

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (P.A.W.S.) happens when a person has stopped using drugs and alcohol for a long period of time, but still has similar withdrawal symptoms to the first 5-7 days after the last use. Although not nearly as intense as the initial withdrawal symptoms, it can still be difficult to manage, especially when the person in recovery is unaware of what is happening.

What Do These Symptoms Look Like?

    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Tiredness
    • Variable Energy
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Cravings



What may happen During P.A.W.S.?

The good news is the longer someone stays sober, the less often these symptoms will occur. The bad news is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can lead to relapse if the person experiencing it does not understand what is going on with his or her body. Learning to notice these signs and developing coping skills is crucial to recovery – but it’s hard to do it alone.

Dealing with P.A.W.S. in long term SOBRIETY

Residential treatment is important for recovering individuals to develop knowledge and coping skills in a safe place while learning to identify the symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. When the time comes to transition back into everyday life, a support system is crucial. This is why Balboa Horizons’ Intensive Outpatient Program is essential to clients’ long-term sobriety. Enjoying a productive life while also having a safe place to come and talk to a case manager, therapist, and peers about stress and triggers will ease the transition and help clients maintain long-term sobriety.

Get help today! Call Balboa Horizons 1-866-316-4012