Post Acute Withdrawal or P.A.W. is a sobriety-based symptom that makes
abstinence difficult and often contributes to relapse. The presence of brain
dysfunction and change in alcoholics has been documented in 75-95% of recovering
alcoholics tested from a neurological standpoint. These symptoms begin to appear
in 7-14 days after abstinence and can continue for a period of six months (or
longer). Recovery and the accompanying changes in family, social and work spheres,
generates a great deal of stress for which some people never learn to manage
without reusing. The severity of P.A.W. depends on two things:
1. Severity of brain dysfunction
2. Amount of psycho-social stress experienced in recovery
Stress of any kind can aggravate the brain dysfunction, which would heighten the
magnitude of the symptoms. P.A.W. will peak in intensity over a 3-6 month period
but the damage is usually reversible after a period of time if proper treatment is
received. Recovery from the nervous system damage usually requires anywhere from
6-to-24 months with involvement in a health program.
There are 6 major symptoms of P.A.W. First, the person will have an Inability
to think clearly as evidenced by poor concentration and rigid and repetitive
thinking. They will also have Memory problems as seen with being unable to retain
something heard or forgetting things within 20 minutes. Persons with P.A.W. tend
to be emotionally over-reactive or experience emotional numbness in situations.
They will also experience varying degrees of sleep disturbances with either too
much or too little sleep or sleeping at different times of day and having
nightmares or powerful 'drug dreams'. They will encounter physical coordination
problems as seen with clumsiness and being accident prone. They may report this
as balance difficulty. The term 'dry drunk' is derived from these symptoms.
Stress Sensitivity is a factor that...