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Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Quitting drug or alcohol abuse isn’t something that happens overnight. Sometimes, you’ll struggle with lingering effects. Case in point is post acute withdrawal syndrome. Rather than just rolling with the punches, there are ways of managing the condition.

What is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Post Acute Withdrawal SyndromeYou decided to quit substance abuse. You’re ready to deal with the discomfort that this decision brings with it. Almost everyone benefits from working with a rehab facility to handle the detoxification process. Examples of treatments include:
  • Around-the-clock monitoring to protect your health and wellbeing
  • Pharmacological support as a way to deal with pain and cravings
  • Amino acid therapy that prevents dehydration
  • Mindfulness-based interventions that help you ground yourself in the present and breathe through stressors
For most people, withdrawal takes between three and ten days. Because of the far-reaching consequences that drug abuse has, some struggle with post acute withdrawal syndrome. These are lingering side effects that have to do with the brain’s regaining equilibrium. Most importantly, they can mimic some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms you’ve felt.

What Does It Feel Like?

For about six to 24 months, you may occasionally deal with a recurrence of specific withdrawal symptoms. You’ll never know when it’ll happen or if it is the last time. Suddenly, there’s a boost to your anger or inability to control emotions. You feel like you’re out of control again. You don’t sleep well. Some people struggle with memory problems that affect short and long-term memories. Furthermore, there might be bouts of anxiety or depression. Almost everything you used to enjoy has lost its appeal for you.

Are You in Danger of Relapse?

You probably could have put up with physiological symptoms. In contrast, a sudden recurrence of psychological withdrawal symptoms is much more difficult to handle. You want them to stop. Reaching for your drug of choice is a temptation that can be difficult to deal with. However, you don’t have to go back to a chemical crutch. There are ways of dealing with post acute withdrawal syndrome that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. If you’ve worked with a forward-looking rehab facility, therapists there probably already discussed management techniques. Examples include trigger situation identification and avoidance. It’s okay to remove yourself from a situation that you recognize as a potential trigger. Healthy lifestyle choices that involve nutrition and exercise are also of vital importance. During the rehab portion of your treatment, you learned coping mechanisms. Now is the time to bring them into play. Therapies such as motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based stress reduction are excellent for preparing you. During group sessions, you might have undergone relapse prevention training. Fall back on these techniques to stay the course. Remember that the symptoms are only there for a short time. If you’re struggling with post acute withdrawal syndrome right now and maybe even relapsed, there’s help. Return to a medically assisted recovery center where therapists can help you to rise up again. Contact Ardu Recovery Center today at 801-810-1234.  
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.