Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

As we have seen so far addiction is a complex process that includes changes that occur in the neurochemistry of the person who is addicted. During early recovery the neurological and biological effects of addiction often manifest themselves as a complex of symptoms.

These symptoms are collectively identified as PAWS – Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and include the following:

  1. Problems with thinking clearly – solving even simple problems sometimes becomes difficult.
  2. Sleep problems-insomnia, restless sleep, disruption of normal sleep cycles, etc.
  3. Dreams of relapse - with and without recognition of being in recovery.
  4. Short and long term Memory problems.
  5. Hypersensitive or numb emotional response patterns.
  6. Coordination problems – trouble with coordination, being more clumsy, etc.

PAWS symptoms may continue to occur for at least six months after the person stops using, regardless of their substance of abuse and may continue for up to two years depending on a number of variables to include their substance of abuse.

Rick Murphy, M.A.

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  1. Addict

    I've been working on becoming a substance abuse counselor and am a recovering person myself. I have 3 years clean December 8th and I still have difficulty thinking clearly and concentrating. As I become a counselor and for my own benefit I would like to know if there is anything a person can do to relieve the symptoms of PAW. I heard that reducing caffeine, nicotine and sugar can help. Do you know if this is accurate and where can I find more information on the subject.
    Thanks, Melissa

  2. Addict

    I am 29 and have a bad herion and benzodiazepine habit,I go to AA,have a sponsor,I just had over 100 days clean,but things seemed to be getting worse with (PAWS)I relapsed for two weeks and need a little direction on how to stay sober for long period of time,Like lock me up.I also think there are other issues in my life that others don\'t understand compleletly.Mabey you can help.Thank you for your time.I am accually scared!

  3. Addict

    good article.i hope patrick you recover from this very soon.
    This is a comprehensive addiction portal focusing on topics of alcohol and drug abuse.

  4. Addict

    According of many researchers Alcohol and Drug addiction is simply defined as a compulsive need for an intoxicating liquid that is obtained from fermented grain or fruit. These liquids include beer, wine, and other hard liquors. it says like every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. and Alcohol addiction may also inflame the mouth,esophagus, and stomach, and could cause cancer in these areas, especially in drinkers who also smoke. Have a desire to stop the Alcohol and Drug addiction. You must have a serious desire to stop from being an alcoholic, but trust me it isnt an easy thing to do, in our rehab, the patients who come, most of them have been been with us before. the treat ment is tough, more or less it is same, for each other addictions, but the patients are dealt differently. i case of teens it is difficult as chances of relapse is more in them
    John W Parr
    This is a comprehensive addiction portal focusing on topics of alcohol and drug abuse.

  5. Addict

    I am cameroon I read this artical and I want to share whith my comments
    Comprehensive resources for those looking for recovery from addiction.

  6. Addict

    I was in rehab for 7 months and the Knowledge of PAW has helped me get through those cycles. I understand that it happens in 30 day cycles and have found it to be true. I have been clean for 2 years and 6 months now. I am currently experiencing the symptoms of PAW. Thank God, "This too shall pass"! My drug of choice was Methamphetamine. Although, I used any drug that was available. I love being sober! I love life! I am a 39yr old single mother of two beautiful daughters and thank God that there are doctors out there that thought that I was worth saving!♥ I hope to be able to inspire other addicts to choose sobriety/life/love/peace/happiness......God Bless!

  7. Addict

    I am so excited to hear from those that love their recovery as much as I love mine! I have been sober for 3 1/2 years now and I love every single minute of it! I also thank God that there were people out there that cared enough about me to help save my life.

  8. Addict

    I still experience paws. But I use it as a tool to maintain sobriety. It is a reminder that lets me know it is still a threat, and no matter how long it has been it is still so powerful I can actually taste it. The using dreams i journal down. I can always relate it to what is going on in my life at that time. I know it is a liar that wants me to believe it is the answer. But dreams are not reality thank god

  9. Addict

    For Patrick Oneal's comment.
    Relapse is a part of recovery. What matters is what you do to get clean and stay clean after a relapse. Post Acute Withdrawal is hard but it only gets worse before it gets better.

    I have found that meditation and the power of positive thinking along with quantum physics has helped me, but that's just me. Just remember, addiction will only lead you to an Institution, Jail or Death. I can say this because I have been through rehab and also ended up in jail. Just think about that before you decide to use.

  10. Addict

    I am studying to become a counselor and recently we had discussion in class concerning post acute withdrawal.

    My question is do people who use alcohol and benzodyizapines suffer more from this phenomenon than those who use heroin and cocaine. If so where can I find this data?

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