Are you suffering from Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) or want to learn more about it? Here is a handy guide to all of the burning questions you may have about this condition.
What is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?
Detox and withdrawal are never fun, but long-term withdrawal symptoms can be extra detrimental to addicts. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a condition where patients experience symptoms for a prolonged period after detox. It’s known by a few different names, such as post-withdrawal, protracted withdrawal, prolonged withdrawal syndrome, and protracted abstinence.
What are the symptoms of PAWS?
The type of symptoms depends on which drug a person was using prior to detoxing. It’s primarily characterized by extreme physical symptoms such as tremors, seizure, autonomic nervous system hyperactivity (sweating, nausea, rapid heart rate) and intense drug cravings.
There are psychological and emotional symptoms as well. The most common ones include mood swings, cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and psychological drug cravings.
What drugs cause PAWS?
Detoxing from any drug can cause PAWS, but some are more common than others. Some classes of drugs are more commonly associated with PAWS than others. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is commonly caused by opiates, alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and tranquilizers. PAWS is arguably the worst and longest lasting when originating from opiate use.
How long does Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome last?
In most cases, PAWS will occur around 2 or more months after a drug detox. However, in some cases, they won’t appear until months after detoxing. Symptoms of PAWS can last several months in recovering addicts, and in rare cases persist for a year or more. In some cases, PAWS only lasts a few weeks though.
How is PAWS treated?
The good news is that as tough as it is to experience Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, it’s a natural part of the recovery process. It will end, so there is hope. At Delray Center for Addiction Medicine, we provide ongoing treatment for those struggling with PAWS. We encourage patients to make appointments with our doctors and therapists on staff. If you’re struggling with PAWS please seek help, learn more about it so you can identify it, focus on positive outcomes, and stay active.