Acute withdrawal symptoms are common in the first few days or weeks when people are kept away from drugs or other addictive substances..The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person and usually depends on what substance the person was dependent on.
As soon as the acute withdrawal symptoms have subsided, the post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can set in.
Symptoms of PAWS
Paws can be a huge hindrance for many looking to recover from the addiction.
Symptoms of PAWS can vary and depend on many factors, including type of addiction, height and gender, and general health.
PAWS is unique when compared to other withdrawal problems because it is so extensive. PAWS can last six months to two years after the person stops using the substance...
Common symptoms are:
- Irritability, aggression, or hostility
Depression, sadness and anxiety
- The mood fluctuates with strong ups and downs
- Little energy
- Tiredness or insomnia
- Thought fog
- Impaired ability to concentrate
- Lack of interest in sex
- Chronic pain
Causes of PAWS
While most recreational drugs and even alcohol can cause PAWS symptoms, some drugs are more likely to trigger PAWS than others. According to American Addiction Centers, these include:..
Marijuana: Stopping marijuana use can lead to insomnia, which, if left untreated, can lead to PAWS.
- Cocaine: Persistent symptoms of impulse control and depression are possible weeks and even months after sobriety in patients recovering from cocaine addiction.
Methamphetamine: For those recovering from methane addiction, impulse control functions are sometimes inhibited for years.
- Opiates: People may experience PAWS symptoms for months after stopping opiate use, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, and decreased impulse control.
- Benzodiazepines: Since many people are given a prescription for benzodiazepines for conditions like depression or anxiety, it can be especially difficult to end this addiction. Stop taking the medication and you may experience symptoms of anxiety and PAWS, which can also worsen the original problem. Many people experience panic attacks or extreme anxiety or insomnia during their withdrawal period. Restoring this dependency often requires significant supervision from a therapist or doctor...
How long does PAWS last?
Unfortunately, there is no set schedule for the duration of PAWS. It is very dependent on the substance abused, the duration of the addiction and the physical health of the individual.
Some people may experience minimal withdrawal symptoms, which can last for days or just a few weeks. Others have had PAWS symptoms for years.
While PAWS can be severe, it can be controlled with professional supervision and medical intervention. Access to resources like support groups, therapy, or some medications like acamprosate, which is often used to treat alcohol addicts and is prescribed and monitored by a doctor, can help relieve the worst of symptoms..This can allow you to get back to normal life even when facing retreat.
Personal care and long-term support from addiction specialists and family members can greatly aid recovery. Therapy can help people manage the withdrawal symptoms they experience and stay in recovery without relapse.
While withdrawal symptoms like PAWS can be long-lasting and severe, they are worth working through to achieve a recovery. If you or someone you love is facing an addiction problem, it is important to consult a doctor or therapist.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-4357 Information about support and treatment facilities in your area.
Additional mental health resources can be found in our National Helpline Database.