The 2 Stages of Withdrawal in An Alcohol Treatment Center

When you enter an alcohol treatment center you will first be expected to undergo the process of detox.  There are usually two stage of withdrawal. The first stage is an acute stage which usually lasts a few weeks. This is a critical time for the alcoholic who will require medical supervision in the treatment center to avoid getting too sick from withdrawal to function.

The second stage of withdrawal is call the Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). During this stage of recovery it is recommended that you stay in an alcohol treatment center because the emotional and psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms experienced during PAWS can be even more excruciating than the physical symptoms.

Post-acute withdrawal occurs because your brain chemistry is out of whack. The result is shifting moods and emotions as your brain chemicals try to find their balance.

The most common symptoms of PAWS during alcohol treatment are –

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Low confidence
  • Racing thoughts
  • Lack of focus
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Insomnia

People going through this during alcohol rehab treatment often feel like they are on a rollercoaster. Sooner or later the wild thoughts and mood swings slow down and as you recover the periods when you do feel well are longer. However in the meantime these periods when you do feel a bit out of control and at the mercy of moods and emotions tend to last a few days.

The kicker is that there is no obvious trigger for these episodes and people will wake up feeling irritable and having no energy for any reason. Then for no reason at all they will feel excellent and in good spirits for a few days. Do not be alarmed and learn to go with the flow because this type of mood change is what you can experience as the result of experiencing withdrawal both in and out of the alcohol treatment center.