Mood Related Withdrawal Symptoms Can Occur Up to Two Years After Detox and Rehab Warns Resurgence Behavioral Health
Costa Mesa, California -
Costa Mesa, CA - Detox and rehab can be uncomfortable and confusing for recovering addicts who may experience a range of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. But many people in recovery are caught off guard when withdrawal symptoms crop up months, or even years, after treatment is over.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) refers to mental and emotional symptoms that persist beyond the initial withdrawal period. When people unexpectedly experience these symptoms it can be disorienting. It can even trigger a relapse. To help prepare patients for what to expect after treatment, Resurgence Behavioral Health has published a guide to Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
The guide is an interactive resource that explains PAWS symptoms, gives tips on coping with the syndrome, and encourages clients to describe their own experiences with PAWS symptoms. It’s intended to help people determine if they are experiencing PAWS and to provide guidance on dealing with the syndrome.
The guide is one of many innovative treatment strategies at Resurgence Behavioral Health, a California treatment center for people struggling with dependence on drugs and alcohol. The journey of recovery typically starts with a period of medical detox, a cleansing process that eliminates alcohol and chemical substances from the body. In a medical detox program, patients are monitored by clinicians, and withdrawal symptoms can be managed with prescription medications to make the process safer and more comfortable.
Detox can be a difficult and even painful time as the body reacts to the loss of substances that the addict had come to rely on just to get through the day. Withdrawal symptoms can include physical effects like nausea, chills, and fever, as well as psychological symptoms like irritability, depression, and anxiety. With PAWS, psychological and mood-related symptoms can persist long after other withdrawal symptoms have faded. Understanding that this is a normal part of the recovery process helps people better cope with symptoms of PAWS if they occur.
As the Resurgence guide explains, PAWS is marked by six main symptoms. The first is an inability to think clearly. A person may find it hard to concentrate and make decisions while simultaneously being unable to let go of other thoughts. Memory problems are another hallmark of PAWS. A person may struggle with short-term memory, making it difficult to learn new skills. Emotional overreactions are also associated with PAWS. A person may get angry at the slightest provocation. Their mood may also swing in the opposite direction so that they get overly exuberant about small things. Sleep disturbances often accompany PAWS. A person may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and when they do sleep, it’s not restful; they may also be bothered by strange dreams. Physical coordination problems can be a symptom of PAWS. A person may get dizzy or even fall down, and hand-eye coordination can be off. Stress sensitivity is another tell-tale sign of PAWS. It may be hard to tell the difference between low- and high-stress stress situations; a person reacts at the same level to minor annoyances and major problems in life.
These symptoms can increase the chances that a recovering addict will relapse, especially if they are not in residential treatment where they can get immediate help – and where they don’t have access to drugs and alcohol.
The guide also offers several coping strategies for dealing with PAWS. They recommend verbalization, talking to people who understand and can provide support. Also, ventilation, saying exactly what a person is thinking and feeling even if it seems irrational and unfounded, can help. Reality testing is another strategy where a person asks someone if their words and actions are making sense. Problem-solving and goal setting help a person to decide what action to take to overcome PAWS symptoms. And lastly, backtracking, or examining past experiences with PAWS symptoms, allows a person to strategize about what has and hasn’t helped in the past. Planning for PAWS and putting these ideas to work in times of stress or other triggering situations can help a recovering addict avoid a dangerous relapse.
Resurgence’s guide is hopeful and encouraging. “The damage is usually reversible,” it counsels, “meaning the major symptoms go away in time if proper treatment is received. So there is no need to fear. With understanding and proper treatment, it is possible to learn to live normally in spite of the impairments.”
People at any stage of recovery can find help at Resurgence Behavioral Health, where customized addiction treatment programs are delivered by a caring, compassionate staff – most of whom are in recovery themselves. Resurgence’s dual-diagnosis treatment, targeting both addiction and its underlying emotional or psychological disorders, is beneficial to those experiencing PAWS.
For more information or to speak with an addiction specialist anytime 24/7, contact Resurgence at 855-458-0050.
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