Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but keep in mind that You Can Do It!
Life is full of obstacles, no matter how you cut it. Everyone has to battle their demons and strive to achieve their goals. It’s important to understand that you are not alone, not the first and not the last. Many have met challenges similar to your and have managed to successfully overcome addiction. So can you!
Part of the battle is knowing what lies ahead. If you are prepared, you will be that much more capable of handling the situation.
What is PAWS?
What is are Post-acute withdrawals anyway. The medical feild loves to classify and break apart concepts and ideas into manageable segments. Inturn, these segments are named. The symptoms of withdrawal for example can be divided into two groups, Physical and psychological. You may already be aware of this, but never thought of them as separate stages of addiction withdrawal.
The First Stage:
The first stage of withdrawal symptoms may be felt immediately and last for weeks. At this stage, you may suffer from the physical withdrawal symptoms.
The Second Stage:
This is the PAWS, or “Post Acute Withdrawals Symptoms”, stage. Usually after overcoming physical addiction or as your body starts to normalize. You may start to feel the effects of PAWS. This is when the psychological and emotional effects of withdraw kick in. It is especially challenging for some. Making, simple decision making difficult and even unbearable.
We are all different in our own ways. While everyone many suffer from the symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal, not everyone will go through the same exact symptoms. But, the most commonly associated symptoms are usually the same. Here is a list of what you might expect:
- Loss of sleep
- Low energy levels
- Loss of motivation
- Irritability and anxiety
- Unexpected anger outbursts
- Mood swings
Post-acute withdrawal Episodes
The highs and lows of PAWS isn’t something you battle once and get over. You may find yourself having to deal with bouts or episodes that can last minutes or days. These episodes come and go, it’s important to pay close attention to your mood and thoughts.
Identifying an episode of PAW’s can help you stay level headed and keep situations under control. At times, you or the people around you may notice a sudden change in behaviour, it’s important to let your friends and family know what’s going on. They can help you identify an episode.
How long do Post-acute Withdrawals Last
You can expect to deal with PAW’s for quit some time. While most will overcome the initial phases with in six months to a year. Some may find it a little more challenging to adjust. It all really depends on how long you have been addicted for.
After six months, you should not think of it as withdrawals, consider it more of habit changing. At this point you have really gotten over the addiction hump. It’s time to no longer see yourself as a “recovering addict”, it’s more of adjusting to a new life style.
Dealing with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Warning – Trading Addictions: I would never advise substituting one drug for another. For example, some may suggest the use of Suboxone to ease PAWS. Although it may ease the pains of recovery. You are treating a drug with a drug, increasing the chance of relapse. Consult a professional first!
Be Flexible: Don’t expect everything to fall in place. Things happen, trains run late, you spill your coffee and people change their minds. You can prepare yourself for the unexpected by not expecting. Simply stated, “go with the flow”. Things happen, don’t break down, adjust and keep moving forward.
Don’t Rush: Understand the importance of patients in every aspect. Patients is a virtue and recovery will take time. So will daily activities, rushing through choirs will only leave you exhausted and drain energy. It will also create room for errors and setbacks.
Take Breaks: It’s ok to step away every now and then to gather your thoughts or just have some quiet time. This will help you ease through the PAWS emotional rollercoaster. If you notice a spike in emotion, take a step back and emerge balanced.
Stay Engaged: Recover is not an excuse to exclude yourself from any activity. As a matter a fact the more time you spend active the less noticeable your withdrawals will be. Social events like family gatherings is a great way to keep yourself in engaged and positively positioned.
“One Last Time” is a Relapse: There really isn’t “one more time”, you have made a decision to stop your old habits and change. Stick to it and understand that one last time has already passed. To the same effect, a slip-up isn’t an excuse to continue.
Smoking Marijuana to Help Post-acute Withdrawals
Don’t do it!
You may have heard of using cannabis to ease withdrawal from friends or read it online. I strongly disagree with the use of any drugs as a recovery tool. Escape is not recovery!
Recovery is all about dealing with life again, learning to cope with everyday issues and facing challenges.
The problem with getting high to deal with withdrawal, is it can trigger relapse and impair judgement. This is the same with alcohol, one beer or shot can quickly trigger relapse.
Life After PAWS
So, what’s it like after withdrawals?
The dulling effects drugs have had on your emotions and loved ones go away. You will have more appreciation for all the little things that you may have never noticed before. More than the average person. You have insight into two different life styles, defeated one of the most challenging obstacles anyone could have faced.
Understand, who you are and how much better you can be, you potential will be unleashed!