The Dangers of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Withdrawal makes detox a sometimes-painful experience, but Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is the biggest threat to addicts’ overall recovery efforts. It hampers rehab patients’ therapies, and even long-sober addicts have succumbed to relapse due to the reoccurring symptoms of PAWS. In fact, many rehab specialists believe that every single addict who attends rehab will experience this condition in one way or another. In order for people to make successful recoveries and manage the disease of addiction, they must understand the dangers of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

Physical Effects

PAWS sets in immediately after detox – the process of deprivation designed to wean addicts of their physical dependencies on drugs and alcohol. Although the most severe physical symptoms occur during the initial withdrawal period, some of them continue in acute forms during post acute withdrawal. They include:

*Heightened pain sensitivity
*Slurred Speech
*Impaired motor skills
*Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Mental Problems

The mental effects of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can be severe. Even rehab patients with no history of mental illness or cognitive problems have been known to experience the following:

*Schizophrenic behaviors
*Cognitive impairment
*Lack of focus
*Lack of drive or ambition
*Feelings of helplessness
*Constant Irritability
*Inability to relate to people or empathize
*Overreaction or under-reaction to emotional stimuli

Exacerbating Co-Occurring Conditions

People who develop drug addictions often suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses. When addiction specialists discover these problems during their patients’ counseling sessions, they often prescribe separate medications and therapies to address them. Still, the mental effects of PAWS can seriously exacerbate these conditions. Patients with chronic depression or anxiety may find themselves facing deeper emotional strife than ever before.

Interfering with Addiction Treatment

Although detoxification weans addicts of their immediate needs for drugs, the continued cravings cause by Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can make it nearly impossible for patients to productively focus on their counseling sessions and other therapies. Even people who are eager to address their problems and get better have trouble doing so when they face constant urges to get drunk or high. Overall, the interference of PAWS in the recovery process can cause patients to require longer inpatient treatment or additional rehab programs.

Recurring Symptoms and Relapse

The most dangerous aspect of post acute withdrawal is the reoccurring nature of some of its symptoms. Patients who diligently maintain daily recovery efforts and stay sober long after clinical treatment can still experience unexpected mental problems – even years later. It is all too common for addicts to encounter massive and unexpected cravings which cause them to relapse for months at a time.

It is therefore essential that recovering addicts do everything in their power to stay sober. They must ensure good mental health with daily self-reflection and careful avoidance of undue stress. They also need to practice good nutrition, regular exercise, and other healthy habits. Finally, they must avoid addiction triggers by staying away from active users and drug-heavy environments. Relapse is common and expected, but addicts can reduce its likelihood by being proactive about staying sober.

Whether you’re struggling to avoid relapse or have already returned to drug use, you can overcome post acute withdrawal and get back on the right track. Call the number at the top of your screen for a no-obligation consultation, and learn how you can receive the right treatments for your addiction. Don’t let Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome keep you from living the life you desire.

Recovery First, one of American Addiction Centers’ detox programs in Florida, is ready to help you overcome addiction and find long-term recovery. Call us today at to learn more about addiction treatment near you.

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