NAD Blog

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

person sitting against wall with hands over face wondering what is post acute withdrawal syndrome

An alcohol detox center gets your addiction recovery started by supporting you as you go through alcohol withdrawal. As a rule, most withdrawal symptoms will fade in a matter of days. However, some kinds of symptoms may linger for extended periods of time. If this happens to you, you have post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. This syndrome is common in people recovering from alcoholism. But with help, you can overcome it and keep your recovery going.

At Springfield Wellness Center, we understand the challenges of post-acute withdrawal syndrome and can help you on the road to recovery. Reach out to an addiction specialist today at 844.334.4727.

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The main symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are acute. This means that they last for a limited amount of time. As alcohol leaves your system, these symptoms increase in intensity for a number of days. They then start to fade as you reach a completely sober state. The list of possible acute withdrawal symptoms includes:

  • A nervous, irritable, or anxious mental state
  • A depressed mood
  • An unstable mood
  • headaches
  • Problems thinking clearly
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • Unusual jitteriness or shakiness
  • Bad dreams
  • Lack of energy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Clammy or unusually pale skin

Most people experience the most intense forms of these symptoms within two to three days of starting detox. After reaching this peak point, they gradually begin to feel better.

Basics of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Roughly three-quarters of all people in alcohol detox will still feel some symptoms when acute withdrawal ends. Since they occur at a later stage, these symptoms are labeled as post-acute.

Some PAWS symptoms occur more often than others. The symptoms most likely to affect you include:

  • Irritability
  • A depressed mental state
  • Bouts of severe anxiety or outright panic
  • Problems using your higher cognitive functions

These issues may first appear during PAWS. However, they may be a carryover from acute withdrawal. You may also experience other problems. For example, you may feel unusually pessimistic or apathetic. Sleep disturbances can also occur. In addition, some people with PAWS withdraw from social contact. Stress can make all post-acute symptoms more severe.

It’s impossible to predict precisely how long the symptoms of PAWS will last. Some people experience them for a period of weeks or months. However, they can potentially linger for years.

Why Do Post-Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Occur?

Why does PAWS occur? No one can say for sure. However, studies indicate that lingering alcohol-related changes inside your brain are to blame. Specifically, alcoholism may leave your brain more susceptible to the effects of stress. When your stress reactions are triggered, the result can be a flare-up of your post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

Treatments for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Significant PAWS symptoms can make it much harder to recover from alcohol addiction. Fortunately, treatment is available. One potential option is a medication called acamprosate, which can help restore your normal brain function. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy can also provide a benefit. Be aware that these treatments may not fully eliminate your PAWS symptoms. However, they tend to make your symptoms easier to endure and manage.

Turn to Springfield Wellness for Treatment of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Are you or your loved one experiencing the effects of PAWS? Talk to the recovery specialists at Springfield Wellness Center. We provide a range of treatments to help you cope with your post-acute symptoms.

Your options include a modern brain restoration technique called NAD+ therapy. This therapy helps rebalance your brain’s mixture of vital supporting chemicals. By doing so, it promotes proper function. In turn, you may find yourself less affected by the impact of PAWS. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 844.334.4727 or fill out our online form.