Why Do We Get PAWS?We feel the effects of drugs and alcohol thanks to the complex system of neurotransmitters in our brain. These brain signals cause pleasure, pain, and a host of other feelings. Drugs and alcohol can significantly alter our brain’s natural chemistry by releasing or withholding the amount of brain signals we’re used to. This withholding or dramatic release of brain signals is what makes you ‘feel’ the drugs. Here’s the problem, your brain can become adjusted to the release of these chemicals and then become dependent on them. This type of addiction is known as chemical dependency. Your brain or body is dependent on drugs or booze to function normally. Once you cease abusing drugs or alcohol your brain can begin repairing the pathways in your head and other parts of your body that were ravaged during your addiction. The good news is you will heal and recover. The bad news is that is not a quick process. The brain can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple years to slowly repair itself – this is the post-acute period of recovery.
Symptoms of Post Acute WithdrawalPAWS can present in several ways but there are symptoms you should expect.
- Insomnia / Trouble Sleeping – You might have used a six-pack or a couple sleeping pills to get yourself to sleep before sobriety.
- Depression – Clinical depression is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters. A brain recovering from addiction will have similar imbalances.
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
- Low enthusiasm