Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is the leading cause of relapse among recovering addicts. Even those who positively engage their treatments and diligently guard against continued cravings can succumb to the painful effects of PAWS. Addicts must educate themselves about this frustrating condition in order to successfully complete their rehab programs and stay clean. Here are some of the most common symptoms.
*Continued drug cravings
*New cravings for food or other substances
*Depression, anxiety, paranoia, and other emotional problems
*Exacerbation of co-occurring mental illnesses
*Lack of motor skills
*Short-term memory loss
*Lack of focus, drive, or ambition
*Inability to effectively communicate with others
*Heightened sensitivity to pain
Many of these symptoms actually make recovering addicts appear to be still using drugs or alcohol. This phenomenon has become known as "dry drunkenness," and it is extremely frustrating for people struggling to avoid relapse. Society already stigmatizes addicts, but laypeople can be especially cruel to those suffering from PAWS.
Overall, these symptoms threaten addicts' recoveries in two ways. First, they make it extremely difficult for rehab patients to productively engage their therapies. Even people who are positive and enthusiastic about their treatments cannot focus when they suffer from constant mental, emotional, or physical pain.
Second, PAWS symptoms often continue long after rehab programs are complete - heightening the risk of relapse. Addicts often find it difficult to employ the coping strategies they learn during therapy when they continually experience the same pain they felt during the withdrawal of detox. Returning to drug abuse sometimes seems like the only way to make the suffering stop.
Now that rehab specialists recognize PAWS as the number-one cause of relapse, addiction treatment clinics are beginning to make its management a top priority. Here are a few of the strategies rehab clinicians use to help their patients mitigate PAWS and avoid further drug use.
Though any drug use is dangerous for recovering addicts, medicines are sometimes necessary to alleviate PAWS symptoms. This is especially for patients with chronic depression or other co-occurring mental illnesses. Anti-depressants, relaxants, and even painkillers can sometimes help rehab patients to effectively engage their therapies and stay clean after they leave their treatment facilities.
Appealing to a higher power or greater purpose in life often helps people get through the pain of withdrawal. It has the same effective on PAWS sufferers, who sometimes find it easier to manage their pain when they can see meaning within their daily lives. Rehab patients commonly mitigate depression and physical suffering with prayer and meditation.
Addicts can alleviate a great deal of physical and even emotional pain by taking proper care of their bodies. Good nutrition helps to maintain stable moods and balanced hormone levels. Vigorous exercise can even cause releases of endorphins, the same feel-good chemicals responsible for drug addictions. By experiencing these small, natural bursts of euphoria, many PAWS sufferers find it easier to avoid using actual drugs.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, click the links below to find a treatment center near you. No matter how much you're suffering now, a drug rehab program can help you get back on your feet.