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:
- Problems with thinking clearly – solving even simple problems sometimes becomes difficult.
- Sleep problems-insomnia, restless sleep, disruption of normal sleep cycles, etc.
- Dreams of relapse - with and without recognition of being in recovery.
- Short and long term Memory problems.
- Hypersensitive or numb emotional response patterns.
- 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.