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Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Loraura Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
I found a good and concise explanation of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) so I wanted to share it here.

What is PAWS?
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a set of impairments that occur immediately after withdrawal from alcohol or other substances. The condition lasts from six to eighteen months after the last use and is marked by a fluctuating but incrementally improving course. It has importance to the recovering addict's ability to benefit from recovery, treatment, function effectively on the job, interact with family and friends, and regain emotional health.

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) has three major areas of impact upon the individual:

Cognitive: PAWS creates many difficulties with cognitive processes. Racing or recycling thoughts are often noted and found to be highly distracting by the individual. Thoughts may be scattered and even a lack of coherence at times may be present. Others may notice a certain rigidity of thinking and lack of required flexibility. In connection with this, abstract and conceptual thought may be negatively impacted. Cause and effect reasoning suffers as well in the early stages of recovery. Themes and threads connecting disparate events may not be recognized as easily. Concentration and attention span may be impaired. Confusion may be present. Prioritization by the individual will likely be a difficulty for six to twelve months.

Emotional: PAWS tends to create in individuals either a dearth or excess of emotion. The individual may be hyper reactive emotionally. Even small events of little consequence may loom large in his/her mind and create strong and overly violent (not being able to bond thoughts together) reactions. This may lead others to suspect a relapse or create social withdrawal. Shame emotions may be noted. Conversely, The individual may notice a numbing of emotions. The inability to feel impairs proper emotional bonding with friends and family during the early recovery process. It also impairs the recovery process itself as the individual struggles with trying to feel the resentments, anger, guilt, shame and other emotions common in recovery.

Memory: Memory is frequently the most noted PAWS problem. Recently learned information (within the last 30 minutes) may be quickly forgotten. New skills or routines may be learned and then not assimilated as before the drinking began. Information may be retained for a short time (days/weeks) and then lost, requiring the individual to learn it anew. As recovery requires inspection of the past, the individual may discover that developmental and childhood memories are totally absent or only remembered in a spotty fashion.

All of the above PAWS issues can obviously affect the early recovering person. The recognition of this syndrome by the recovering person as well as by friends, family and colleagues is important. The individual will note that the severity of PAWS decreases as time progresses and that PAWS is stress sensitive. Lowering of stress is helpful. Healthy habits such as limiting caffeine, getting 8-10 hours of sleep, eating three balanced meals and exercising three-four times weekly usually prove beneficial. Meditation, or relaxation exercises can be invaluable once properly learned.

Most individuals find the first six months to be the most PAWS impacted with decreasing severity over the next six-month period. By the end of one year, most persons have returned to their respective levels of functioning.

Info found at: Family Intervention Center of Virginia
deeeCA Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
It definitely makes sense Loraura- but I've actually had all of the OPPOSITE happen to me. At least in relation to what you posted.... I guess that is a good thing though so I'm not complaining! 
Penel0pe Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Here is an excellent link for information on PAW from excerpts from Terence T. Gorski (The recovery king)

Post Acute Withdrawal

I found this link extremely comforting in early recovery... at 7 months clean, a year clean, and sometimes, even now.

It helped me to realize that some of the things I was going through were NORMAL in recovery, that I wasn't alone.. and that if I just stayed clean, I could look forward to the day that PAW would be less of a problem.

It still rears it's head from time to time, and it is good to know what it is when that happens.
Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Lo and Pen, do you think it would be a good idea to give these PAWS info lists to the addict who is approaching the big step of recovery...contemplating the life change? Or do you think it might be too much negative or fear producing? I have found that what a meth free person thinks is loving, logical, healing etc.. isn't received by a meth filled person. I know there are lies in the addict's methbrain that I don't understand.

Thank you for posting these-they certainly help me.
Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
* PAWS * That's my name !

Going on 11 months, and it's still very evident that I'm going through this.

I expect that because of the length of time I used I will be in PAWS " from Hell " for a much longer period of time !
jes78 Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
that was good to read, at 6 months, i remember losing my balance quite often, and thought if it could be the heroin/crack. maybe it was. its nice when i read something and can say, "oh yeah, i felt that" thanks for the info
Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Thanks for the reading material.
For those of you that had emotional numbness, does that eventually go away too?

Pen, that link has some really good stuff on it. Thanks for sharing it.
Penel0pe Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Or do you think it might be too much negative or fear producing?

I think accurate information, knowing what to expect, is by far a better option than just allowing an addict to go through the inevitable with NO information. The reality is, the symptoms that Loraura described and the information provided in the link describe the reality of recovery - and are the reason that MANY addicts relapse - they can't take it anymore.

Sometimes just knowing that what you are experiencing is NORMAL is enough to get you through it - it was for me, anyway.

Re: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Thank you Pen, I don't really get too caught up in wondering whether or not my actions or my care might not be received the way I think they will, not as much at least as I once did, but I still want to remember that I'm dealing with someone with a disease or diseases and be careful. You are a woman and so am I and we both think knowledge is power and strength but damnit! sometimes the Plutonian just mystifies me in the way he thinks beyond the opposite of me. So many opposites-seems like every time I do the "what works for many others" thing and give experience strength and hope, he runs the other way as fast as can be. I am wondering if reverse psychology might work on this kind of insanity. Of course (I'm kidding) reverse psychology never worked on me because I'm so perfectly sane

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