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Are the Symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Dangerous?

Women and Alcohol | Just Believe Recovery PA

In This Article

People who are in remission from alcohol or drug addiction may suffer from Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).

Often referred to as PAWS for short, many patients who start the recovery process may only come to learn about PAWS from a counselor or addiction specialist.

PAWS Can Impact Your Recovery

This largely untalked about the syndrome is one of the main reasons why addicts will relapse. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is never a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, years of abuse can impact your mind and body.

Researchers say that it isn’t uncommon for PAWS symptoms to last up to 2 years.

Mild PAWS symptoms include:

  • Low Energy Levels
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Inability to Focus

Severe PAWS symptoms include:

  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Insomnia
  • Schizophrenic Symptoms
  • Wanting to Cause Self Harm

While those experiencing mild symptoms can probably survive the PAWS storm, severely addicted individuals could face harsher symptoms putting their recovery at risk.

Your Brain and PAWS

It’s important to note that those experiencing severe PAWS symptoms may not have experienced these symptoms before their addiction began.

Clinicians have witnessed patients with no history of mental illness suddenly develop schizophrenic symptoms.

For this reason alone, PAWS can be dangerous. Those experiencing PAWS should be under the supervision of a counselor or physician so the patient can be prepared to deal with severe symptoms.

In rare cases, those suffering from PAWS have threatened to hurt themselves. The feeling of alcohol withdrawal can leave a patient feeling hopeless and like there is nothing left to live for. That’s why it is so important to have trusted rehabilitation staff on hand in order to help recovering addicts navigate their way back to sobriety.

Sobriety Doesn’t Have an “Off” and “On” Button

When your body is dependent upon substances such as alcohol or drugs, suddenly going cold turkey can cause mood swings, depression, and feelings of despair. It’s important to know what’s happening to your body chemistry when you stop abusing substances.

Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t possess an off and on switch for substance abuse. Once addicts stop drinking or doing drugs, chemicals start to change in the body which can set off a roller coaster of emotions. During the early stages of the withdrawal process, patients are most vulnerable to relapse.

During the first weeks of recovery, patients typically describe a feeling of anxiety or nervousness. Those in recovery need to understand that these feeling are taking place because of the chemical changes happening inside your body.

Preventing Dangerous PAWS Symptoms

While most only report mild PAWS symptoms, those who have developed a dependence on drugs or alcohol are at risk for the most severe reactions.

In order to prevent dangerous PAWS symptoms, many decide to check into a rehab facility that can assist the patient throughout this turbulent time.

Outside of going to an in-patient rehab facility, those on the road to recovery should practice mindfulness and self-care techniques.

Are you feeling cranky due to PAWS? Can you not stop thinking about your next drink? Do something that will change your state of mind. Many sufferers of PAWS report that getting a massage, taking a walk or even doing yoga has been beneficial in their recovery.

The Mentality of a PAWS Patient: Survive and Advance

When it’s postseason in the sporting world, teams must do whatever they can in order to survive and advance. In your recovery, you should adapt to the same mentality.

PAWS impacts different people in different ways. The most important thing you can do during a PAWS episode to not consume drugs or alcohol. Although the pain associated with PAWS is temporary, those that weather the storm are putting themselves in a position to stay sober and live a happier life.

For alcoholics and drug addicts, a life without substance abuse may seem impossible. Evaluate your mindset and think about the different coping mechanisms you’ve developed over the years. If you can survive and advance past the very worst PAWS symptoms, you’ll be more likely to stay on the road to recovery.

Are you or a loved one suffering from drug or alcohol dependence? The decision to get help takes courage. Call 888-380-0342 today to privately speak to a certified addiction specialist.

Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania

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