Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS)
There are two stages of withdrawal. The first stage is the acute stage, which usually lasts for a few weeks. During this stage, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms. But every drug is different, and every person is different.
The second stage of withdrawal is called the Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). During this stage you'll have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Post-acute withdrawal occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain improves the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
Most people experience some post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Whereas in the acute stage of withdrawal every person is different, in post-acute withdrawal most people have the same symptoms.
The Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal
The most common post-acute withdrawal symptoms are:
Post-acute withdrawal feels like a rollercoaster of symptoms that come and go. In the beginning, your symptoms will change minute to minute and hour to hour. Later as you recovery further they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return again. As you continue to recover the good stretches will get longer and longer. But the bad periods of post-acute withdrawal can be just as intense and last just as long.
Post-acute withdrawal usually lasts for 2 years. This is one of the most important things you need to remember. If you're up for to challenge you can get though this. But if you think that post-acute withdrawal will only last for a few months, then you'll get caught off guard, and when you're disappointed you're more likely to relapse.
Each post-acute withdrawal episode usually last for a few days. There is no obvious trigger for most episodes. You will wake up one day feeling irritable and have low energy. If you hang on for just a few days, it will lift just as quickly as it started. After a while you'll develop confidence that you can get through post-acute withdrawal, because you'll know that each episode is time limited.