How To Minimize Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome From Opiates
Opiates have long been considered to be one of the most difficult substances to stop using. Many people who have recovered from opioid addiction have experienced the difficult withdrawal symptoms that occur within the first few days or to a week after ending opioid use. These withdrawal symptoms are often so difficult to deal with, that they contribute greatly to the high number of opioid relapses. However, there can be something even more difficult to deal with after the initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided; Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Many people recovering from opioid dependency report weeks, and sometimes months of withdrawal-like symptoms that can make their healing journey even more difficult. To understand how to help with this terrible syndrome, we must first examine what it is, what the factors that contribute to it are, and finally how to minimize Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome effects from opiates.
What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is sometimes confused with the initial effects of opioid withdrawal.
After an individual stops taking opioids, their body begins to feel withdrawal because it had been physically dependent on the synthetic opioids. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal are primarily physical and include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle pain, weakness, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and more. With an opioid withdrawal, the body is going through immense physical change and trying to understand and adapt to the lack of endorphins that were being synthetically produced due to opioid use.
What makes Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome different is that it occurs after the body has physically compensated for the lack of synthetic opioids, and the physical withdrawal symptoms have ended.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome occurs primarily in the brain and can make life very difficult for people suffering from it, who are trying to rebuild their lives and heal from opioid dependency.
What Are The Signs Of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome From Opiates?
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome occurs primarily in the brain and the symptoms of it usually affect mood and mental health, although there can still be physical symptoms as well.
The symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome include heightened anxiety, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, drug cravings, depression, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, irritability, and difficulty learning, among others.
The intensity of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome symptoms can vary. An individual could experience all symptoms or only a few in a very intense way. The intensity of these symptoms is thought to stem from the amount of time a patient was using opiates, and the amount of opiates they were using. Those who used greater amounts of opiates for a longer period are likely to experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome with greater intensity.
How To Help Minimize Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome From Opiates.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can last for months after initial withdrawal symptoms cease, so it is important to have tools and strategies to help minimize the symptoms you might experience.
UCLA health recommends a combination of mental health and depression drugs, as well as a heavy focus on counseling and therapy.
Speaking one on one with an addiction counselor can help you minimize feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as create a feeling of community and support, instilling the fact that you are not alone in dealing with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.
Group therapy with other individuals suffering from PAWS has also been shown to be helpful.
Some other strategies include regular exercise, stress-relieving guided meditation, journaling symptoms to track your progress, and keeping your personal life busy to avoid feeling alone with the symptoms of PAWS.
If you have been suffering from Post-Acute withdrawal symptoms after recovering from opiates, Fritz Clinic of Alabama can help. Fritz Clinic believes that counseling is just as important as medication to help people heal from opioids. At Fritz Clinic of Alabama, we specialize in helping you take care of your mental health, to help you heal completely. Call or contact Fritz Clinic today to begin your healing journey.