Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: How Does It Manifest Itself?

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Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a condition that affects individuals in their recovery phases. While the phase for acute withdrawals takes a few weeks, Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can continue for a long time, spanning months and even years. As a result, this usually presents a unique set of challenges for the person in recovery. This blog article looks at the topic of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and explains its manifestation during the recovery process.

Physical Symptoms

Several physical symptoms are associated with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Among them include sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues. These symptoms are often different in severity and duration, and there is no definite pattern in which they manifest. Physical symptoms of PAWS can be upsetting for people in recovery because they affect how an individual conducts their daily activities, thus affecting their overall well-being. Visiting an outpatient treatment center is always recommended for those struggling with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

Emotional Symptoms

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can also manifest in emotional and psychological symptoms. People with this condition may showcase emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, and difficulty regulating their emotions. During this phase, it is not uncommon to find a person struggling with heightened sensitivity to stressors. The fluctuating emotions can make it challenging for individuals to navigate their recovery journey, maintain motivation, and cope with daily stressors.

Cognitive Challenges

Another way PAWS can manifest itself is through its impact on cognitive functioning. More often than not, Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome results in memory difficulties. By this, it means that people may experience difficulty in processing information, and this may end up affecting their ability to execute their daily tasks. Cognitive challenges can be frustrating and may lead to decreased self-confidence and motivation in recovery.

Cravings and Triggers

Another manifestation of PAWS is the presence of cravings and heightened sensitivity to triggers. During this phase, an individual can have cravings for substances, potentially triggering a relapse. For that reason, it is always advisable for people to avoid triggers or situations that could lead to a relapse or intensify cravings for substance use. Having a strong support system and developing effective mechanisms to cope with the condition is crucial for avoiding relapse.

Symptoms and Variability

One of the defining characteristics of PAWS is its prolonged duration and variability. While acute withdrawal typically lasts for a few weeks, PAWS can persist for months or even years. The symptoms may fluctuate in intensity and frequency, making it difficult to predict when they will occur. This variability can be frustrating for individuals in recovery, as they may anticipate a return to “normalcy” only to experience a resurgence of symptoms.

Final Word

The most challenging aspect of the recovery process is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. As indicated in this article, PAWS is exhibited through emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms which could exist for quite some time. If you are struggling with the process of recovery and suspect you may relapse, it is crucial to seek professional intervention to enhance your journey toward sobriety.


Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer. She loves writing about the latest fashion and beauty trends and travel. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and planning her next shopping trip or travel destination. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.

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