Published In

Wellness Guide
CS Team December 22nd, 2021 · 4min read

What is PAWS? Read About Symptoms of PAWS

List Of Content:


What is PAWS

Symptoms of PAWS

Introduction About PAWS:

I have observed that there is a misconception that quitting alcohol, smoke or substances is easy. Recently I found some behavioral changes in my close friend who’s trying to quit smoking, only to fail. So, we booked an appointment with our health advisor and found that every person goes through two phases of the withdrawal process.

I was really concerned about the mental health of my friend. Therefore, I started reading more about “PAWS: Post-acute withdrawal syndrome” to support my friend in this rough phase.

During the phases common reactions related to Post-acute withdrawal syndrome were:

  • “This is too uncomfortable, I can’t stand this!”
  • I don’t want to deal with it
  • If being clean feels this bad, I might as well go back to my old ways.”

Keep calm and read this blog to read every first question which strikes to your mind while going through phases of PAWS, Here are some findings which I would like to share to self-help or support your family member, friend or loved one during PAWS: Post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

What is PAWS?

PAWS, or Post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome refers to a constellation of symptoms experienced by people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol after a prolonged stage of withdrawal. PAWS typically occur in the first two weeks of drug or alcohol cessation and can last for months depending on the case/situation of the person.

PAWS related symptoms are primarily psychological in nature which affects the mood of a person, sleeping patterns and responses to anxiety and stress. PAWS vary in duration and intensity of substance use. Generally, it takes four weeks to six months for the brain to adapt to the removal of these vital chemicals.

During the phases of withdrawal, unconscious responses occur which puts body and mind on high alert that results in increased heart rate, constricted blood vessels, and poor digestion. Additionally, early recovery may be stressful and results in frustration, blistering discomfort, confusion which produces more distress.

Symptoms of PAWS:

 Below highlighted are some common symptoms of PAWS:

Mood swings

The brain of chronic alcohol or drug users becomes adapted to the constant supply of mood-changing substances. So when we reduce or remove the use of such substances, it results in periods of depression or mania which happens for no apparent reason.


For the people who are addicts, the removal of drugs is a major life alteration. Therefore, understand that sometimes there can be a lot of panic attacks and anxiety and some days can go normal too.

Sleep Disturbance

desires to consume alcohol or drugs can lead to vivid realistic dreams which disturb sleeping patterns. Experience of such dreams is a compulsion and reflection of taking drugs or alcohol.

Fatigue and Depression

Fatigue and depression are phases of readjustment in the brain and they actually diminish after some time without any requirement of treatment.

Drug Cravings

People may experience intermittent cravings of drug use as their most intense physical withdrawal symptom subsides. The person may look healthy, but they continue to experience psychological-related symptoms which forces them to continue the usage of drugs and substances.


People undergoing PAWS frequently stress over situations. Setbacks or trivial irritations make them feel like the end of the world. Therefore, tools to cope with stress should be learned.

There are various organizations that help people to recover from PAWS. Many people believe that they have to reach rock bottom before they seek help. But, early prevention is the best solution for addiction. One of the famous government organizations is NIDA which is dedicated to drug abuse. You can click the link to read about the National Drug Helpline.

So, it was all about what is paws and some common PAWS symptoms. In the next blog, we will highlight some natural ways to overcome “Post-acute withdrawal syndrome” naturally. Till then, stay tuned and keep supporting your loved ones! Keep smiling and for more such informational and motivational content, do not forget to follow Calm Sage on social media platforms.

Thanks for reading.

Recommended Articles: 

1. Best Foods That Help To Reduce Anxiety
2. Step Into The Light- Acceptance Is The Key
3. Change Your Mindset And Reduce Anxiety

Leave a comment