Drug Abuse and Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) are issues that arise after detox that cause cravings for drugs or alcohol, no matter how well or quickly recovery is going. PAWS create a major setback in recovery because they heavily influence or trigger old drug abuse habits. Without professional recovery help, patients are typically unaware that PAWS exists and are unprepared to handle the pain. To avoid relapse, recovering addicts must recognize the warning signs of PAWS and be ready to deal with them when they develop.

Causes of Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Due to the body’s natural cleansing process, recovering addicts can crave drugs or alcohol even after detox. During detox, the body will go remove remnants of alcohol, drugs and other toxins from its system. As these drug-related toxins are flushed from organs and other intramuscular components, they enter the blood stream and trigger a physical craving as well as withdrawal symptoms. After detox, the body will still undergo its natural cleansing process, which will produce the same chemical reactions that trigger physical cravings and post-acute symptoms of withdrawal. It’s as if the body remembers detox all over again, which results in withdrawal symptoms even though the drug or alcohol is no longer present.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can also come from psychological cravings. Emotional or psychological stress can trigger the desire to abuse drugs or alcohol. If someone ever abused drugs or alcohol to heal emotional and psychological pain, he or she will likely turn to these substances again when facing similar stressors after detox. Whatever mental or emotional issues arise, his body has become accustomed to getting relief from drugs or alcohol. When he experiences stress, anxiety, sadness and goes without drugs or alcohol, the body can react with psychological cravings and withdrawal symptoms again, even though detox has already finished.

Why Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms Trigger Relapse

The detox process from drugs and alcohol can be brutal due to the overwhelmingly painful withdrawal symptoms. Professional treatment offers the safest and most comfortable opportunity for successful detox. Recovery professionals will monitor a patient’s progress, minimize withdrawal symptoms and gradually detox patients to avoid any intense or harmful reactions. Recovery professionals will minimize the risk of post-acute withdrawal symptoms while also steeling patients against that possibility.

Even when people receive professional detox assistance, the unpredictable development of post-acute withdrawal symptoms is a ruthless experience. The symptoms can arise without warning and one may endure extreme physical and psychological pain. To relieve these symptoms, many patients give in to their cravings and return to drugs or alcohol. Falling back into the cycle of drug abuse due to post-acute withdrawal symptoms is especially common for those who do not receive professional treatment.

Help for Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are ready to quit using drugs or alcohol and need professional help, please call our toll-free helpline now. Recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day to speak with you about your options for overcoming withdrawals and the other struggles along the way of recovery.