Withdrawal refers to any prolonged symptom an individual experiences after they have ended their battle with drug addiction and may experience a series of symptoms that come and go at unexpected times. Each episode of the post acute withdrawal symptom (PAWS) may last for hours, days or even up to a year.
Defining Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Symptoms of withdrawal include feeling dizziness more often than usual, severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting but may over time become lessened in how severe these effects feel as your body begins to better cope with not having the drug present anymore.
Influencing Factors of Withdrawal Duration
How long you have been a drug addict does play a major role in how severe and how long you will experience this phase.
1. Time Taking Drug
Generally, the longer you have been drug addicted to any particular drug, the more severe your case of withdrawal will be. You may expect to feel awesome directly after discontinued use but this isn’t so as the drug has become so much apart of you that your brain and body has to take a long time to recover from the damages made.
The higher doses of the drug you have become immune to taking, the longer the effects of post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) will affect you and the more severe its effects will feel. The less doses you were accustomed to taking, the better your chances of experiencing a less severe withdrawal period will be.
3. Quitting Cold Turkey
This term refers to the addicted person trying to quit the drug on their own with no medical or professional help and with no one there to help them maintain a clean and sober lifestyle. This increases your risk by 95% of experiencing an ultimate post acute withdrawal phase and increases your chances of a relapse. Sudden non-existence puts your body in complete shock and your nervous system will not know how to perform its functions as it should.
4. Frequency of Use
If you or your loved one was an addict, PAWS is more likely to affect the individual quicker if they took the drug on a daily basis or multiple times a day. This reason is due to the fact that your body has gotten so used to functioning “normally” only when the drug is present, so, mentally and physically you now need the drug in order to function as you normally would.
5. Individual Reasons
In many cases, two persons may have been addicted to the same exact drug with the same doses and frequency but one person may experience withdrawal for 1 year while the other may only experience it for 4 months. This factor is completely dependent on how your immune system works and your genetic makeup.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Another important thing to consider is that your environment also aids in your road to recovery for a sober lifestyle. Eating healthy and having balanced daily meals, exercising, getting proper sleep and not overworking your body too much to the point where you may crash also affects how severe you experience withdrawal as well as how you remain sober.
Common Side Effects of PAWS include:
- Inability to think clearly or make sound judgment
- Depersonalization, this is the feeling where you do not feel like yourself and is unable to identify who you really are, thus resulting in the development of alter egos
- Severe depression
- Being overly sensitive to touch, sound and light
- Temporary and sometimes permanent dementia
- Severe cases of OCD (obsessive compulsive behavior)
- Suicidal thoughts
It is highly recommended that if you are experiencing this phase, please do not try to fix the situation on your own, otherwise you put yourself at risk of relapsing and you may be of harm to yourself and loved ones. Please seek immediate medical care and professional interventionistswill always put your best interest first and ensure that you maintain a healthy lifestyle.