Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is Difficult During and After Drug Rehab
Drug rehab is a process that helps to heal the body physically, mentally, and emotionally. In the acute stage of withdrawal, the body undergoes physical withdrawal symptoms. After a few intense weeks where the body physically readjusts, the mind then begins its long journey of healing. This post-acute withdrawal stage lasts much longer than the acute stage and requires patience and perseverance to heal without falling into relapse.
During withdrawal, the brain chemistry is in a state of fluctuation until it can finally return to normal. Those experiencing Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) are in jeopardy of successfully healing over the long term. Some individuals will still feel some physical symptoms such as insomnia, impaired motor skills, and cravings for their previous addiction or even for new stimulants; but, the emotional and mental symptoms are the ones that put an individual at most risk for relapse.
Emotional Symptoms of PAWS
In Post-Acute Withdrawal individuals may suffer from the following:
- Panic attacks/anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Inability to focus
- Difficulty responding to emotional stimuli
- Loss of energy
Difficulties During Drug Rehab
While still in Drug Rehab, individuals going through PAWS may have a difficult time focusing on their treatment sessions as they still struggle with the desire for the very substance that put them there. Their whirlwind of emotions and mental imbalance puts them at risk for failure to heal.
During or immediately after drug rehab, some individuals may still be exhibiting some physical symptoms of impaired mobility or slurred speech. Unfortunately, society judges harshly and even those who have undergone treatment may be subjected to ridicule because they still appear intoxicated. This social embarrassment or pain can set back individuals who are struggling through their rehabilitation.
Difficulties After Drug Rehab
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms will occur often in the beginning of recovery and gradually appear less frequently over weeks and months. On average, post-acute withdrawal usually lasts up to two years.
Some individuals experience withdrawal symptoms months after they have gone through drug rehab. After weeks of feeling healthy and normal again, they may experience a period of drug withdrawal symptoms they thought were forever gone. With the help of treatment specialists, individuals may be able to find helpful coping mechanisms for managing these recurring symptoms.
Toward Successful Recovery
The key to successful recovery is for individuals to remember that recovery is a long process. There will be good days and bad days. It is very normal that there may be a stretch of wonderful months and one day an individual wakes up suffering from symptoms that might last for a few weeks.
Individuals who are patient with the process and patient with themselves will eventually persevere. During tough times, relaxation techniques may help make symptoms less severe.
The hope is knowing that the body and mind are always moving ahead to recovery. Struggling through a few days or weeks does not mean the war is lost. With encouragement from family and friends, and guidance from treatment specialists, individuals can maneuver through difficult withdrawal symptoms toward a normal life once again.