Whereas detoxification and withdrawal often cause people great physical discomfort, Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome has a host of painful mental symptoms. People with no history of mental illness may experience short bouts of depression, paranoia, or anxiety. Those with pre-existing emotional problems may also find their symptoms greatly exacerbated during the post acute withdrawal period.
Also, many PAWS sufferers report significant cognitive impairment. Though detox has weaned their brains of their immediate physical dependencies on drugs, they still have trouble thinking clearly while sober. Fortunately, such effects lessen as patients complete their substance abuse treatment programs and get used to living without drugs.
Even after withdrawal, many addicts continue to suffer physical symptoms during post acute withdrawal. Some of the most common include drowsiness, heightened pain sensitivity, insomnia, and slurred speech. They may also continue to experience a great deal of nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, these are some of the most short-lived symptoms.
The physical symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can make it seem as if recovering addicts are still constantly drunk or high. This phenomenon causes a great deal of social difficulty for people who have completed substance abuse treatment programs. Society severely stigmatizes addicts, and they may further ridicule people they believe to still be under the constant influence of drugs or alcohol. Many addiction specialists have begun calling this condition “dry drunkenness.”
Although detox helps people suppress their strongest cravings, their urges to use drugs never completely stop. Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome exacerbates the cravings rehab patients continue to experience, making it extremely difficult for them to productively participate in their counseling sessions. Thankfully, most rehab specialists make PAWS mitigation a primary component of their programs. The only way to help patients make long-term progress is to ensure their success during clinical therapies.
One of the most dangerous aspects of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is that some of the symptoms can reoccur months or even years after clinical treatments are complete. These symptoms are the primary cause of relapse for rehab patients, and they can even cause addicts who have maintained sobriety for years to return to drug use. People who experience unexpected, massive cravings are sometimes powerless to handle them.
The only way for addicts to guard against the long-term symptoms of PAWS is to constantly practice the healthy habits and daily recovery efforts necessary for sober living. They must consistently apply the coping mechanisms and strategies for avoiding addiction triggers they learned during clinical rehabilitation. They also need to maintain good diets, regular exercise regimens, and consistent sleeping patterns. Only by staying mentally and physically healthy can addicts deal with the dangers of recurring post acute withdrawal symptoms.
Whether you’re struggling with PAWS or have not yet sought treatment for your addiction, you still have hope for a better future. Call the number at the top of your screen now for a toll-free consultation with one of our expert counselors. We can get you started on a substance abuse treatment program that will have you back on your feet in no time – but we can’t do anything if you don’t call.