If you suffer from drug addiction or have made the choice to undergo therapy, congratulations! This will be a long and challenging journey, but the end results of a healthier, happier life are worth it.
It is important to be prepared for the addiction recovery process, including the commonly experienced PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Nearly all recovering patients go through these symptoms. In this post, we take a closer look at what to expect and how to cope.
After suddenly stopping drugs, a recognizable pattern or group of symptoms arises. In some cases, nervous system damage may be present. You may experience what is known as psycho-social stress, due to trying to live without the drugs or alcohol you were so dependent on. This usually occurs seven to 14 days into treatment for drug withdrawal, and recovery from serious nerve damage may require six to 24 months.
Two Stages of Withdrawal
During this period of withdrawal, you may notice that the symptoms happen in two stages. During the first, or acute, stage, there are more physical symptoms that affect your body. During the second stage, the symptoms of withdrawal become more psychological. Sometimes, the latter is harder to treat.
Of course, you should remember that everyone’s body is different and will react differently to the treatments.
Post-acute withdrawal happens because the levels of your brain chemicals are changing and fluctuating — in most cases, improving.
Common Types of PAWS Symptoms
The following are the most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms you can expect.
1. Inability to Think Clearly
Remember, however, that your intelligence is not affected. You may only feel like a clouded brain has made it harder to concentrate for more than a few minutes. You may find it easier to think in pictures rather than metaphors. This symptom may occur and bother you only when you are actively trying to solve a problem. It may sometimes feel difficult to put your drifting thoughts together coherently, and this will make you feel very irritable.
2. Memory Problems
This may make it difficult to learn new skills or even remember some things you used to know. Therefore, it’s harder to build on and improve what you already learned.
3. Emotional Overreaction or Numbness
Trivial matters may upset you and make you angry. Try to resist the urge to lash out immediately. But expect that you will often feel anxious and excited without reason. Overreaction can also stress your nervous system.
4. Sleep Problems
You may find your sleep pattern is disturbed by unusual dreams. This may, in turn, cause difficulty falling or staying asleep. Altered sleep cycles will result, causing you to be cranky throughout the day and night.
5. Physical Coordination Problems
If you suddenly find you have a hard time doing tasks that used to come naturally to you, know that this is to be expected as your nervous system and body tries to adapt to life without addictions.
6. Stress Sensitivity
Obviously, all of the above will cause you to feel overly stressed. Be kind to yourself, even when this roller coaster of emotions feels like it’s about to crash. It will take time to recover, but the good times will improve. Soon, you will be able to recognize the symptoms for what they are. Your brain and body will learn to function normally again.
Even if you experience PAWS or relapses during your recovery period, don’t give up hope. Stay focused and determined to get your life back in order and to live happier — free of addictions.
Contact Crosby for Help Today!
If you or someone you know is suffering from heroin withdrawal, drug addiction or alcohol withdrawal, it’s not too late to seek help. Call (760) 751-1234 today and get the treatment needed from the best drug rehabilitation center. We’re always ready to help you.
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