Many of the problems associated with early recovery do not stem directly from drugs and alcohol. Instead, they are associated with physical and psychological changes that occur after the chemicals have left the body. When people use substances, their brains actually undergo a physical change to cope with the presence of the drug in the body. When the drugs are removed, the brain then demands more to satisfy the desire caused by the changes. The extreme symptoms that are experienced immediately after the using has stopped is called “acute withdrawal.”

It’s widely understood that withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs can involve everything from physical discomfort to life-threatening conditions. What are less known but very common are the lingering effects of withdrawal, called “post-acute withdrawal syndrome” (PAWS), which can seriously challenge recovery. These symptoms are a result of brain dysfunction caused by the brain readjusting to being without alcohol and drugs. Recovery from PAWS usually takes somewhere between six and 24 months.

Entering into addiction rehab can provide you the opportunity to learn what to expect during the post acute phase and teach you how to recognize how these symptoms can manifest. If you understand what the symptoms are, you are in a position to manage them.

PAWS symptoms can include:

  • Inability to think clearly
  • Memory problems
  • Emotional overreactions or numbness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical coordination problems
  • Stress sensitivity

Foothills Centre for Change will educate you around successful management of your alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms to help you feel better physically and emotionally, improve your self-esteem, and reduce your risk of relapse.

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