The Drug Class Blog

Apr 23

What happens when we quit

What Happens when we quit using Drugs and Alcohol

Post Acute Withdrawal is the adjustment your brain has in life without chemicals.

It is the time period when your own neurotransmitters start acting again. During the years of addiction to drugs/alcohol there is artificial stimulation and disruption to normal brain function. During this time of adjustment difficulty in thinking clearing, expressing emotions, memory, coordination, sleep disturbances and stress. are all common.

What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

In this section we identify symptoms and suggest ways to help in your addiction treatment, which differ for everyone. There are also guidelines to aid you with overcoming frustrations and bring back balance to your brain and life in general. Please, keep in mind, when you attempt rehabilitation from a substance it takes your brain six weeks to eighteen months to heal it's thinking pattern, so don't give up if your recovery is not immediate.

The most common symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal when overcoming addiction are:

Unclear thinking.

Difficult emotions.

Difficult physical coordination.

Sleep disturbances.


Questions to Ask Yourself: How often do I have difficulty concentrating and how long does it last? Are feelings that come out exaggerated for the situation? Am I depressed and finding it difficult to be motivated? Do I have difficulty remembering things? Am I clumsy, dizzy and off balance? Is there difficulty getting myself to sleep or do I wake often? Does stress about life occur most of the day?

Help for Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Addiction Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

List Your Strengths and Weaknesses in the Above Areas: Example: Strength I play basketball for fun. Weakness: I run into objects or appear off balance at times.

Set a Plan for Overcoming the Areas of Weakness. If your thinking is unclear only read a part of a book or directions at a time and then go back. Journal your feelings so you are calm when you present them. When depressed watch a funny video or take time to play. Walk the dog or take a child to the park to engage in life. Make lists of priorities for the day and lists when you go shopping. Save yourself two trips. If you didn't complete the list, start again the next day. Walk slowly and use guardrails on steps. Don't stimulate yourself with caffeine before sleeping. Read a boring book that might make you tired. * Take breaks often during the day, even if you have to go to the car and rest for ten minutes and repeat affirmations: This too will pass. Don't expect too much of yourself and be sure not to make things worse.

Be sure and get sober support at either AA, church groups or some sober activity.

Eat three meals a day and little snacks if you are hungry. Vitamins are important to put the nutrition back in you.

Try and do meditation and relaxation techniques. * There are several good recovery help books, Anxiety and Phobia, by Bourne, is one of the best workbooks available and well worth the money as a life time guide.

Danger Symptoms – Watch for These Lack of confidence. Denial (It wasn't really that bad or I can handle it now). Lack of commitment to a support system. Trying to change others before they are ready. Defensiveness. Compulsive behavior (becoming compulsive and out of balance in another area or your life). Impulsive behavior (acting before you think things through or outbursts). Daydreaming. Depression. Easily Angered. Irregular sleep. "I don't care," attitude. Feeling hopeless. Self pity. Conscious lying. Loneliness. Controlled drinking (trying to limit or control use). Loss of control (back to original state of consumption).

Planning Ahead to be Successful in Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Identify high risk situations and write a description of it and how you should handle them ahead of time. (These are any areas where you know you are inclined to relapse into abuse or addiction.) Example: A family wedding where alcohol is to be served is coming up. You will be tempted to celebrate. Plan: Bring a sober friend and your own soft drinks so you will not be made a spectacle or feel left out. Name three high risk situations to you and set a brief plan. * If you do relapse, admit it quickly and stop it before it takes control. Don't see it as failure, just a short interruption in the recovery process.

Change Begins Within Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Watch for internal changes. Increased stress. Why bother? Change in feelings, mood swings. Change in behavior (look good on the outside but feel terrible inside). Helpful

Ideas for Beating Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Look for balance living. Work- limit to 40 hours per week. Family. Maintain a spiritual connection. Education or new learning and stimulation. Personal time. Plans for calmness and sobriety. 1 Say the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference 2 Call a counselor 3 Call sober friends 4 Jog around the block a few times 5 Eat something 6 Pray to your higher or greater strength Also Watch for "Stinking Thinking " in Post Acute Withdrawal Examples: I don't listen at AA and pass when it is my turn. I get exhausted. I don't like eating regularly. I have high expectations. I think the dangers of drugs are overreacted too. I get tired of this Higher Power stuff. Understanding the Map to Relapse Post Acute Withdrawal Denial. Resentment. "I don't care," attitude, no confidence. Drop sponsor. Blaming others. Lie on purpose. Don't ask for help. Eat and sleep irregularly. Associate with chemically abusing people. Begin to relapse. Don't expect your desire to consume to go away quickly. When You Crave, Use Thoughts to Help Overcome the Urge: I can wait till tomorrow, Remember some of the pain it brought, then think of the good things of being sober. * Make sure your physician, dentist and psychologist know about your addiction. It will help them better treat you.

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