For many who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), the desire to quit is often overshadowed by the fear of withdrawal symptoms. Attempts to detox at home frequently fail because of the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, making people want to give up trying to be sober altogether. For most, detox is generally the first step toward recovery from substance use disorder before a comprehensive addiction treatment program.
At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we know that mental health and substance use disorders often co-occur. We provide comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment. We can help you feel prepared for treatment by explaining the detox process, continuum of care, stages of addiction recovery, and what to expect from your individualized treatment. Reach our team today at 833.625.0458 to learn more about our residential treatment program.
What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?
The first stage of detox is acute withdrawal. Acute withdrawal symptoms are the main physical symptoms that begin with a rapid reduction or sudden cessation of drug or alcohol use. These symptoms can last for a few days up to two weeks.
The second stage of detox, called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), happens as the brain adjusts to the absence of alcohol and drugs. Compared to the symptoms of acute withdrawal, which are primarily physical, PAWS symptoms are psychological and emotional. PAWS can last for several months, and up to two years, depending on the duration and severity of the addiction.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
PAWS is not only uncomfortable, but symptoms can occur sporadically. Cravings and poor impulse control, common PAWS symptoms, often lead to relapse even for those deeply committed to recovery. Being aware of PAWS and knowing the temporary symptoms can help be prepared to manage them when they occur. At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, education about PAWS is integral to our dual diagnosis treatment programs.
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The degree of symptoms depends upon factors, including the length and severity of the substance use disorder, the type of addiction, and overall health. Commonly reported PAWS symptoms can include:
- Irritability and hostility
- Fatigue and low energy
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
- Limited ability to focus or think clearly
- Inexplicable chronic pain
PAWS is a complex syndrome. Some people experience no significant symptoms outside of acute withdrawal, while others experience ongoing PAWS symptoms for years. Still, others experience periods of being symptomatic followed by periods of being symptom-free. With personalized care and long-term support, people in recovery can learn to recognize PAWS symptoms and effectively manage them.
The Benefits of Treatment
The most significant benefit of residential dual diagnosis treatment is that it provides a safe, stable environment with around-the-clock access to a team of professionals, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and behavioral health specialists. Being in a setting with peers who can relate to your struggles and provide support is also beneficial. Inpatient treatment allows you to explore the underlying factors contributing to co-occurring disorders, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and learn life skills you will carry throughout your recovery.
Living in an unstable environment without a solid support system often triggers mental health and substance use disorder symptoms. A residential program for mental health allows you to focus on your recovery without daily life stressors. Other benefits can include:
- Individualized treatment planning
- Development of personal accountability
- Being part of a community
- Access to proper nutrition and physical fitness
- Resources and advocacy for families
- Structure and routines
- Access to therapy and other treatments
The first goal in residential treatment programs is to stabilize symptoms. From there, you work on understanding mental health and substance use disorders and how they impact your life. The skills you learn and the insight you develop will provide you with the tools you need to manage symptoms when you return to your regular daily life.
Find Relief at Atlanta Center for Mental Health Today
If you have received a dual diagnosis, you need a program that prioritizes both mental health treatment and substance use disorder treatment. At the Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we provide a range of evidence-based and holistic therapies, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Recreational therapy
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Trauma-Focused therapy
- Expressive therapy
If you or a loved one requires dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia, Atlanta Center for Mental Health is here to help. We know that post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms can cause many to stay in a cycle of perpetual relapse. We can help you break that cycle. Contact us at 833.625.0458 or use our secure online form.