Are you clear on the meaning and impact of PAWS, post acute withdrawal symptoms? If not, read on and it will be explained in clear, easy to understand terms.
Post acute withdrawal symptoms, sometimes referred to as post acute withdrawal syndrome, can cause discomfort and concern during early addiction recovery.
Not everyone has post acute withdrawal symptoms. They became a field of study as more and poor people looked at why some addicts and read early recovery reported withdrawal symptoms well beyond normal expectations in terms of time. Lack of knowledge of them or how to handle them can lead to alcohol or drug relapse.
It is important to have an understanding of post acute withdrawal syndrome simply because if you’re familiar with what the symptoms are you’re in a position to treat and manage them. Read on to take a look at the symptoms and methods of management.
What Exactly Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Anyway?
Let’s start with basic withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are whatever happens to your body and mind as a result of suddenly taking away a substance that you and your body have grown used to over time.
These can be both physical and emotional. An example of a physical withdrawal symptom is hand tremors or the shakes when someone has grown accustomed to alcohol stops drinking suddenly. Ironically, a cure for the withdrawal symptom is more of the substance, in this case, alcohol (not recommended if abstinence is the goal).
Acute withdrawal symptoms are the symptoms that happen closest to the time of stopping use of the drugs or alcohol and, in general, are the most pronounced or severe. In other words, what over goes on in the first few days. Acute means intense.
A supervised detox is often recommended when long term and/or high volume users of alcohol or benzodiazepines stop because of the possibility of seizures. Seizures are an example of an acute withdrawal symptom.
Post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) have become recognized as symptoms that persist long after the immediate withdrawal symptoms have lessened and as a relapse trigger. PAWS peak at about 3 to 6 months. Post (means after), the Acute (intense) Withdrawal Symptoms. So, PAWS are really whatever shows up after the intensity of the first few days are over.
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: The 5 Most Common Symptoms And Remedies
The 5 most common symptoms that are attributed to post acute withdrawal are:
- Inability to handle and overreaction to stress. High stress can actually increase the intensity of all the other symptoms.
The solution here is to identify the things in your life that are causing you high levels of stress. Do everything you can to avoid putting yourself in situations are most likely to increase your stress. Identify your stress triggers and prepare plans for handling them.
- Disturbed sleep patterns. Disturbed sleep patterns can not only mean difficulty and staying asleep or falling asleep and frequent awakenings, but there can also be intense nightmares or night terrors. The bad news is that it happens to more people in recovery than not. The good news is that over time sleep difficulties go away. For tips on sleeping you can Google the phrase ‘sleep hygiene.’ And get some more tips..
- Mood swings, emotional overreaction. Being extremely emotionally sensitive is a very common experience for people suffering from post acute withdrawal symptoms. Not only can this include mood swings with intense highs and lows, but the opposite can occur: frozen feelings – the person is just numb. A third facet of emotional read overreaction is that there is a disproportionate reaction to the reality of the situation. A minor incident gets blown up into a major catastrophe.
- Poor physical condition and coordination.Poor physical condition varies greatly from person to person. Basically when using drugs you’re putting poison your body, and your body is fighting it off. That causes damage and changes. As far as physical coordination goes this can show up as occasional dizziness, slower than normal reflexes and poor coordination. One of the simplest remedies for poor physical condition and coordination is to start eating in a nutritious fashion and take vitamin supplements.
- The most common memory dysfunction is a disruption of short-term memory. I remember my sponsor telling me when he was in treatment he could not read two sentences in a book and retain the information. Six months later he was back in school for his masters degree. In most cases short-term memory does return over time as your brain learns to rewire itself under the absence of drugs..
Clear, Easy To Understand Video Clip on PAWS Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Most professionals agree that PAWS post acute withdrawal symptoms generally occur within two weeks after stopping the alcohol or drug use. Remember not everybody suffers from them. Some particular symptoms in certain individuals may persist for months into recovery. In light of preventing a drug relapse. handling them is crucial.
If you are in treatment and these problems are occurring make sure that you tell your therapist or counselor so they can give you additional insistence on managing the symptoms.
Whether one or many of these symptoms are present, the most important thing in getting clean is to pay attention and address them and address the symptoms.
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Some Really Good Free Resources
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Drugabuse.gov) – In my opinion this is the best short read on addiction. I have used the content for many therapy groups and lectures…check it out.
- Impact of Substance Abuse on Families (NCBI) – When a family member abuses substances, the effect on the family may differ according to family structure.