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Getting Through Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) Successfully: What You Can Do

Updated: Nov 25, 2019


Some Basics But Essentials


Start applying these things immediately after detox.


Rule #1 - Rest all you can.

Sleep and rest is essential for all healing and this is no different. If you have insomnia because of PAWS, I get it! Don't think I make this rule flippantly. It's rule #1 because I think it's a necessary element for your healing. I've known people who try and start working out in the first week or two after detox. It usually doesn't go all that well. Just getting out for some walks in nature is often plenty. Even if you have a hard time sleeping, rest is just as important. Remember it's a journey. You can't expect to fully be where you envision yourself in that first month or so after getting clean. Be gentle with yourself.

Rule #2 - Clean your phone of all contacts that enable your use.

Block and then delete the numbers of dealers, people you've used with in the past, and people who might ask for help finding drugs. This can often be a painful process because sometimes these people are friends or closer. There can be conditions for some people that if they are clean in the future you may be able to continue a relationship. Otherwise they can't contact you. If you want to get clean and change your life, you have to start by changing your life in this way. Who you surround yourself with in life will come through in how you live yours. Trust this. You will be much more likely to transform yourself by doing this.


Rule #3 - Stay hydrated.

It's not uncommon that people don't have an appetite after detoxing for around a week. I largely tell people to honor this message from their body. In the first week after detox, it's ok not to eat like normal, but hydration is key! Everything works better when you're hydrated. If you aren't thirsty, drink anyway! Pee light yellow to clear and incorporate electrolytes 1-2 times a day. Most people know about Emergen-C, but I really like Power Pak by Trace Minerals Research Group. It's got a nice mineral profile and trace minerals which you won't get in other electrolyte powders.

If you're a patient you can order it at a discount through our online medicinary, Fullscript.



Or you can get it here:




Rule #4 - Feeding Yourself Well

Once your appetite starts returning to normal after detox, starting to get nutrition in will help you feel better faster. Eat a whole foods diet that is mostly plants. The more fruits, vegetables, and legumes you eat, the better. This is where you will get the majority of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need to get your body systems working optimally again.

Rule #5 - Avoid Caffeine.

I have consistently seen caffeine make people's withdrawal symptoms noticeably worse during detox. PAWS being a lesser but similar form of withdrawal symptoms, it makes good since to avoid caffeine. It's not doing you any service during this time. After all, rule #1, right?

Rule #6 - Limit Screens.

Screens can equate to brain scrambling. The content we are exposed to these days is rapid fire, violent, stimulating to the max, and addicting. With any brain healing I recommend limiting screen time. Hell, I recommend it for health preservation in general. If you do decide to watch TV or a movie, etc., make it something in "real time". Like a nature show like Planet Earth or a chill music concert.

Rule #7 - Nature Walks.

The natural world is healing to us. It's in our DNA. I commonly tell my patients to take slow walks in nature. Even if you're in an urban center, you can find a park. Touch the Earth. Walk barefoot. Just be in a natural space. Your spirit, body, and your mind will thank you.

Rule #7 - Be Gentle. Feel What You Feel.

You are going through a lot at the beginning of this healing journey. There are soooo many feelings now present that used to be either not there or that you were distracted from. No they're right in your face. This means physical feelings but perhaps more so, emotions. Be gentle with yourself. While they can be exceedingly uncomfortable and painful, your emotions will not kill you. You must start to feel it all in order to begin to soothe it and then heal. Seek the support you need to navigate your new experience and above all, please be gentle with yourself in the process. These above rules are your mainstay. Like all good medicine they are simple and at the same time difficult. Follow these simple but important steps and you will be giving your body it's foundation for healing. Your body knows how to heal and it will return to balance. It will do the is faster if you provide the best conditions possible.




Substance Specific Advice


The "Downers"

The PAWS symptoms of these substances are more excitatory in nature. The system has been "downed" for so long it has adapted to that state. When the drug is gone, the system is really heightened because its not being suppressed anymore.

Here I have listed some things that help in bringing the system back into a new balance quicker after detox from different drugs.



Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

Opiate Weaning and/or PAWS:

The Goal is to keep the nervous system calm, restore hormonal and nervous system balance, and decrease central nervous system pain sensitisation.


Helpful Supplements:

Magnesium

L-theanine

B-complex

SAM-e (not if bipolar)

NAC

Melatonin

GABA


Helpful Herbs:

Adaptogens and nervines in general

Organic, Full Spectrum CBD Product

Valerian

California Poppy

Lemon Balm

Skullcap

Ashwagandha

Bacopa


Biofeedback and Heart Rate Variability Training


Craniosacral Therapy


Hot Epsom Salt Baths often


Photo by Haley Lawrence on Unsplash

Benzodiazepine Weaning and/or PAWS:

It's all about supporting the GABA system. This is the calming part of the nervous system.


Helpful Supplements:

Taurine

Magnesium

L-theanine

NAC

GABA

Melatonin


Helpful Herbs:

Nervine herbs in general

Valerian

California Poppy

Lemon Balm

Skullcap

Ashwagandha

Bacopa


Biofeedback and Heart Rate Variability Training


Craniosacral Therapy


Hot Epsom Salt Baths often





Photo by Jack Ward on Unsplash

Alcohol Recovery:

Support the liver, blood sugar control, and the brain.


Helpful Supplements:

Magnesium

NAC

Selenium

B-Complex

Taurine


Helpful Herbs:

Nervines and Adaptogens in general

Milk Thistle

Schisandra Berry

Artichoke

Turmeric/Curcumin

Bacopa

The "Uppers"

The PAWS symptoms of these substance are pretty much fatigue and really down. The system has been stimulated consistently for long enough that without it, the body and mind are really slow without it there. Emotional depression are to be expected here also.

Here I have listed some things that help in bringing the system back into a new balance quicker after detox from different drugs.



Methamphetamine and Cocaine

I want to be transparent that I have much less experience clinically in dealing with these substances and their withdrawal processes. I do, however, understand their pharmacology and the secondary effects on the body and mind. These are my notes on what should help in restoring balance to the system after being dependent on stimulants such as meth or cocaine.


Helpful Supplements:

5-HTP

Tyrosine

B-Complex

Iron (If Deficient)



Helpful Herbs:

Adaptogens in general

St. John's Wort

Bacopa

Possibly Rhodiola


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