How Long Does Detox Take? The Reality of PAWS

The average detox begins a few hours after your last dose of drugs or alcohol, and lasts five to seven days. After that, the worst withdrawal symptoms are over. But it’s not all over.

Many people struggling to recover from drug or alcohol addiction suffer from withdrawal symptoms for months after detox – a phenomenon known as post-acute withdrawal symptom, or PAWS.

(PAWS is also sometimes referred to as protracted withdrawal, prolonged withdrawal, or protracted abstinence.)

PAWS begins shortly after detox and can last months and even years. Symptoms can include:

  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Emotional Outbursts
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches

The length and severity of your PAWS symptoms will depend on the intensity of your drug or alcohol misuse, as well as physical factors like your height, weight, and general health.

Still, there are many steps you can take to lessen your PAWS symptoms.

If you opt to continue residential treatment after your detox, staff members may be able to treat your PAWS with non-narcotic medications, such as antidepressants. There are also natural remedies that can ease symptoms.

However, when it comes to the psychological symptoms, your recovery environment is key. Having a support network on hand and a strong system of recovery surrounding you makes it easier to deal with the effects of post-acute withdrawal. At the very least, the stresses and pressures of the outside world are removed when you deal with PAWS in residential treatment.

Overall, being prepared for PAWS will help you meet its challenges head on, keeping your hard-earned recovery intact. Just remember: The worst day with PAWS is still better than the best day fighting your addiction.

To learn more about what our Care Coordinators can do to help you build recovery that lasts, contact us today.

And if you’re not sure whether recovery is right for you, check out our 10-question quiz here.

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