PAWS: What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a nuanced phase that can affect some individuals during addiction recovery. By understanding the symptoms and implementing effective strategies, individuals can navigate PAWS more successfully. For those seeking dedicated support, Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, offers specialized care that addresses the unique challenges of addiction recovery.

Stress can be a trigger for people with PAWS, and some research suggests that PAWS can lead to increased sensitivity to stress. The duration of PAWS can depend on a range of factors, including the substance you used and how frequently you used it, as well as your support system. The available research suggests that some symptoms of opioid-related PAWS can last for weeks, and in some cases, 6 to 9 months after last use.

Your brain needs time to heal and naturally produce healthy levels of dopamine, endorphins, and other chemicals essential for regulating emotions. While challenging, it is important to keep recovery at the forefront of your mind and use coping skills to minimize the risk of relapse. Understanding post-acute withdrawal syndrome and effectively managing your symptoms with psychiatric care and coping strategies can help prevent relapse and set up a solid recovery foundation. To understand post-acute withdrawal syndrome, one must first understand the two stages of detoxification or withdrawal symptoms.

For individuals seeking specialized support in their journey through addiction recovery, Hanley Center’s residential programs stand as a beacon of hope. Located in the serene surroundings of West Palm Beach, Florida, we offer age and gender-specific comprehensive care to men, women, and older adults tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Developing a consistent meditation practice can help you gain control over your thoughts and emotions and act more rationally in stressful situations.

  1. You can control the symptoms with professional oversight and medical intervention at a treatment center.
  2. Your personalized treatment program will be relevant to where you’ve been and where you hope to go.
  3. During this time, your body goes through different phases of withdrawal as it tries to stabilize.
  4. Also, a person may have a higher risk of developing PAWS, or the symptoms may be more intense, when the misused substance was alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines.
  5. With the right approach, it is possible to minimize the impact of these symptoms and live a fulfilling life.

These symptoms vary depending on the substance used and other individual factors. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome means that a patient experiences a cluster of symptoms long after the period of acute withdrawal. PAWS symptoms are often mood-related and psychological, generally not physical as acute symptoms are. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome with its psychological effects can still be as distressing to deal with and overcome. In most cases, there is no obvious trigger for these episodes, so it can be impossible to predict when a post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptom may set in.

Can you prevent post-acute withdrawal syndrome?

Getting treatment for addiction can help prevent PAWS from happening or reduce the severity of symptoms. Treatment can also help you avoid relapsing, which can make PAWS even worse. Since post-acute withdrawal syndrome can be long-lasting, the medications used are usually administered to the patient over time. Acamprosate is commonly used for alcohol withdrawal and was found to be helpful for PAWS symptoms too. Based on the amount of alcohol you used, PAWS can last for weeks to months. Longer and heavier use of alcohol can cause more severe PAWS symptoms that can last even longer.

PAWS symptoms affect a person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and require proper management as they often compel an addict to use again in order to obtain relief. And because PAWS can occur and recur for up to two years or even longer for some people, understanding how to recognize and cope with this condition is the most critical factor for long term recovery success. After the initial stage, withdrawal side effects may persist into more psychological symptoms as your brain recalibrates. This cluster of symptoms is grouped under post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Although not recognized as an official disorder, PAWS is a widely used term in the treatment community. Depending on the type of substances used, the length of time they were used, and your overall health, there will be an onset of side effects including insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety.

Long-term symptoms of opiate withdrawal are commonly reported in individuals recovering from opioid addictions. If your PAWS symptoms seem overwhelming or dangerous, you should seek medical treatment. If you also have other mental health conditions, a doctor may be able to help you better manage all your symptoms. In some cases, medications can help normalize brain chemistry and prevent PAWS symptoms, which can help you with recovery. The treatment may continue for an extended period of time if symptoms continue. In addition to medical treatment resources, be sure to seek out relationships with people who support your recovery – like support groups and recovery coaches.

How Is PAWS Treated?

Research also underscores the importance of proper nutrition in recovery. When you take care of your body, it has a positive impact on your brain and overall well-being. If you feel that PAWS symptoms are leading you down the road to relapse, then you need to call us right now. Learn how our inpatient treatment program can save your life, or ask about a powerful Intervention managed by Board-Certified James F. Davis. The most important thing to consider when it comes to PAWS is that it is completely normal – it happens to everyone who has ever recovered from any substance addiction.

They may be more psychological than physical, including mood swings and difficulty with sleep and memory, for example. PAWS symptoms can last from months to years, and they may increase the risk of a relapse. Medications, do shrooms show up on a drug test support groups, and self-care are just some of the strategies that can help. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) involves symptoms that last or develop after the initial withdrawal from a substance.

When does post-acute withdrawal syndrome occur?

Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S, and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Find Treatment tool to search for treatment centers. Many state government websites will provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is an extended phase of withdrawal that can occur after the initial acute withdrawal period. It’s important to note that not everyone who undergoes addiction recovery experiences PAWS; however, for those who do, it can significantly impact their journey. For many individuals recovering from a substance use disorder, as well as for their families and loved ones, the process can be long and arduous.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms by substance

For many people on the road to sobriety, detox is just the start of recovery. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a condition that affects many recovering addicts, where symptoms of withdrawal are experienced long after one has stopped using drugs or alcohol. Approximately 90 percent of opioid users and 75 percent of alcohol and psychotropic users experience PAWS symptoms.

It is also a healthy way to express yourself and your feelings/emotions. Being physically active helps reduce physical and mental tension, as well as anxiety, depression and other symptoms. It typically lasts for several months or years, depending on the severity of addiction. does alcohol thin your blood These symptoms typically reach their peak between three to six months after the start of abstinence. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. While coping with PAWS symptoms can be challenging, there are many ways to manage these common symptoms.

Depending on the intensity and duration of alcohol or other drug use, post-acute withdrawal is known to last many months. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms typically last between 1 and 2 years; however, the severity and frequency of symptoms tend to dissipate as times goes by without the use of addictive substances. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome occurs after the acute withdrawal stage and is a natural occurrence as the brain slowly returns back to normal over a period of time. As one’s brain chemicals begin to regulate, their post-acute withdrawal symptoms may fluctuate as the individual’s brain attempts to seek a healthy equilibrium. PAWS is the brain’s way of correcting chemical imbalances that it suffered from during active addiction. PAWS tends to occur more commonly and intensely among individuals with alcohol, Benzodiazepine, or Opioid addictions.

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