P.A.W.S. stands for "post acute withdrawal syndrome". It is the second stage of the withdrawal process. In this stage, the physical withdrawals of opiates have become minimal but the emotional and mental symptoms may still remain. P.A.W.S. occurs because your brain chemicals are trying to return to their normal levels. The abuse of opiates have caused your brain to stop making certain chemicals that help maintain a healthy mindset.
After you quit opiates, your brain will slowly return to normal producing the chemicals they are no longer receiving synthetically. While your brain chemicals level out, you may feel the effects of P.A.W.S. Depending on the length of usage as well as the amount you used, this stage can last anywhere from a few weeks up to a few years.
During P.A.W.S, one of the main symptoms you may experience are mood swings. It may feel as though you are on an out of control mental roller coaster. One minute you may feel terrible while the next minute you may feel outstanding. It's important to educate yourself as to why you feel these emotions, to help understand and cope with opiate withdrawal and P.A.W.S. Your energy level may also be affected by P.A.W.S. You might have no energy one day and feel great the next. On the days you have no energy, try to force yourself to go for a walk or get some sort of exercise to help jump start your endorphin levels. When these levels are low, you may feel anxious, depressed as well as have little to no appetite. Realize that these feelings will not last forever and that a healthy lifestyle will help ease the symptoms as well as help balance your mind and body.
There are things you can do to help speed the recovery process. Eating healthy, exercising, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will definitely help in your recovery. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to speed up the P.A.W.S stage in recovery. When you exercise, you are helping your brain produce chemicals that will make you feel more at ease. Your diet is also paramount in helping your brain recover so it's important to eat healthy so that your body has the nutrients it needs to help balance out your brain's chemistry. Eating a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits will help tremendously. Stay away from processed and fast foods until your symptoms subside, as you don't want to add any harmful chemicals to your body while you are still healing. (It's even great to stay away from processed foods as part of a healthy lifestyle even after you are off of opiates and your P.A.W.S symptoms have subsided.) Getting into a healthy routine will not only help to ease your symptoms but will help jump start your new healthy life.
We understand that P.A.W.S is very intimidating. Knowing that you may have bouts of symptoms for weeks at a time can be scary. Being prepared for the challenge is necessary to survive and ultimately gain control back of your life. Be patient with the process and understand that it will get better with every day that passes. You have the power to get better if you stay focused and motivated. CalmSupport has been created to help during the withdrawal stage, as well as to help ease the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and P.A.W.S. Read more to see if CalmSupport may be right for you.