WHAT IS “PAWS” AND HOW CAN YOU COPE WITH IT?
- June 7, 2018
The road to recovery was long and winding, but you’ve made it to the end. You are ready to get back out into the world and live your life, but temptation lurks around every corner. The relapse rate in America stands between 40 and 60 percent, which is alarmingly high. Addiction is a lifelong battle, and everyone struggles at one point or another on their journey.
Aside from the temptation caused by the substance’s pleasurable side effects, the biggest reason people return to drugs are the withdrawal symptoms. When you do a detoxification in a treatment center, you usually feel the worst of these symptoms with the support of trained medical professionals and continue to work through them over a long period. At Asana Recovery, we lead you through the detoxification process in a safe environment to ensure you’re ready to continue on the path to recovery.
However, sometimes these symptoms can last for much longer than a few weeks, extending out for several months or even years. When withdrawal symptoms last for an extended period of time beyond what is normally expected, it’s called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS for short.
PAWS occurs intermittently, and each episode can last up to several days. These symptoms vary from drug to drug, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Depression and Mood Swings
- Inability to Sleep
- Exhaustion and/or Fatigue
- Trouble concentrating or thinking
- Increased sensitivity to stressful situations
PAWS generally last around two years, and there isn’t much known about the specific causes of PAWS, though scientists have postulated several possible causes, including psychological stress and chemical imbalances.
If you are suffering from PAWS, it can seem like an eternal struggle with no hope of salvation, but there are some things that you can do to help yourself cope:
Be Patient: It can seem like forever when you are living in the moment, but patience is key. It is much easier to cope with the symptoms when you have accepted the pain and know it will pass. Instead of focusing on the daunting two years ahead, keep yourself occupied on staying clean for the rest of the day. Recovery from PAWS doesn’t happen overnight, and the earlier you can accept that, the better off you’ll be and the sooner you’ll be addiction free.
Don’t Do It Alone: Active participation is vital to successful recovery, and this is applicable to post-rehab as well. The team at Asana Recovery knows the struggles you’re facing, and we understand how daunting it can be. However, you don’t need to face this challenge by yourself.
Simply put, living with addiction is hard, and people can’t do it on their own. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. Whether it’s a counselor at a drug clinic, your mom, or your best friend, you must reach out for help if you are having a rough time avoiding your addiction.
Reaching out to people for help isn’t a weakness. Never be afraid to seek help at any time and know the people who care about you most want to help you recover.
Take Care of Yourself: A big part of staying clean is staying healthy. It can seem hard to get outside and workout when you are struggling with cravings, but starting with little steps like taking a shower, eating properly, and sleeping right can go a long way. It can be hard for an addict to be good to him or herself, but doing so is part of the recovery process.
PAWS may seem like a death note, but with patience, acceptance, and will, it is possible to overcome it, and at Asana Recovery, we help you form the behaviors and habits that will ease to process from addiction to recovery.