Beat post-acute withdrawal and learn self-respect

There are usually two stages to withdrawal and these are the acute stage and the post-acute stage. Acute withdrawal typically lasts up to a few weeks and will be home to many physical symptoms unique to whichever substance you are trying to abstain from. The second stage is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome and extreme emotional and psychological symptoms will occur. These include mood swings, tiredness, the lack of enthusiasm, disruptive sleep and anxiety. They occur due to the fact that the brain’s chemistry is slowly returning to normality and the symptoms seem to be the same for every person.

Image courtesy of Simon Cunningham via Flickr

Image courtesy of Simon Cunningham via Flickr

  • Each episode typically lasts for a few days and are often sporadic in nature. There aren’t any defining triggers but that you will wake up feeling low and ill-tempered for a few days and suddenly, after a few days, it will lift. Knowledge that they only last a few days makes it easier to deal with them in the future.

  • At the start, the symptoms can be extremely erratic and can change from hour to hour sometimes even minute to minute. The time lapse between these will get longer and longer as you continue to recover to the point where they only occur every few months.

  • The entire process of post-acute withdrawal can actually last up to a couple of years and there is no quick fix. You can get over the hurdle if you can take on the challenge.Post-acute withdrawal can seem like an impossible mountain to climb but there are a few things you can do and remember to help with the process.

  • Talk to someone Find someone who you know you can trust, can be open with and who you know will not criticise you. You want them there to listen and often, simply talking and confiding in someone can help you see your situation in a new light as well as providing you with the support you need.

  • Try to keep the flow – You are going to have some amazing days and you are going to have some extremely difficult days. Recognise that and do not beat yourself up over the bad ones. Make the most out of your good days and embrace them and use your bad days to have a little ‘you’ time and relax. Don’t try and do too much.

  • Take a walk down memory lane  Realise how far you have come and how strong you are to do so. Sometimes you will have little energy to do anything and that is ok. You are allowed to focus much of your attention and you and your recovery.

  • Take action  – Only you can make changes and having direction in life is a good way to have a clear goal and focus. Also, physical exercise is a proven method of distracting your mind and body.

  • Patience  – You are not going to be cured immediately and you need to be aware of that. Take it one day at a time and be good to yourself. Don’t exhaust yourself otherwise you will start thinking of finding an escape.

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