There are tons of acronyms that are used in recovery that make retaining information much easier. One of the cutest acronyms is PAWS although what it stands for it pretty serious. While the consensus may be to think that PAWS has something to do with an animal, the truth is that PAWS stands for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome that can be a very perilous condition.
Withdrawal off drugs and alcohol can be a tough experience for some people depending on the type of substance along with the length and frequency that drugs or alcohol were consumed. Each body type is different which is also plays a factor in how withdrawals affect each person. Sometimes people have little to no withdrawal symptoms and others have persistent symptoms that will fluctuate with a variety of ongoing withdrawal symptoms.
Aches, pains, nausea, headaches, and other physical symptoms of PAWS can take a toll on a person and manifest psychologically to affect a person’s mood, sleep patterns, and reaction to stressors. A person that displays post-acute withdrawal syndrome could also have tremors, seizures, severe cravings, and autonomic nervous system hyperactivity that is responsible for sweating profusely and a rapid heart rate.
Cessation of drugs and alcohol after a significant period of dependency can cause a dramatic change in the body. Since the brain and all of the systems of body have grown accustomed to the consistent flow of drugs and alcohol through the bloodstream, to stop the numbing usually creates a jolt that includes a ripple effect that can last up to a year even after the substances have completely left the system.
An important aspect of PAWS is to become aware of what the body is going through. Without proper education, someone that is experiencing the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome can become extremely discouraged. Although PAWS is not recognized as an official medical diagnosis, there is nonetheless treatment to overcome the symptoms. Therapists and counselors can be utilized to help manage impulse control, suggest becoming part of a support group, and help to treat a dual diagnosis. Medication can sometimes be prescribed for specific withdrawal depending on the drug such as Naltrexone or antidepressants. Using medical professionals to help to taper off drugs and alcohol can help to ease post-acute withdrawal symptoms and help ease peace of mind to know that there is a way out.
Serenity Oaks Wellness Center is a 5-week extensive treatment program that can help someone with their post-acute withdrawal syndrome to get sober and reduce symptoms. Our medical and clinical staff work together to give our client’s a better outcome in recovery.
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