PAWS: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
by Bill Abbott & Suzy W., SMART Recovery Meeting Facilitators
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is something that perhaps unfortunately, we haven’t discussed much in SMART Recovery®. It is a not yet widely known problematic syndrome (syndrome is a medical term which describes a grouping of varying symptoms) of addiction recovery. The following scenario can illustrate it:
You’ve been through detox and all of the withdrawal symptoms and you are doing pretty well for perhaps a month or two. Suddenly, you start to realize that you’re feeling edgy and antsy. You are experiencing mood swings that range from being on a pink cloud to feeling down in the dumps. You find that you can’t concentrate. You are having trouble sleeping, you’re sleeping too much, or you’re having very vivid dreams. “What’s going on?” you wonder. “Am I going crazy?!”
No, you’re not going crazy. You are suffering from what is known as PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Unfortunately, as noted above, we don’t often hear much about it in the recovery community even though it is an extremely common experience.
We know that recovery progresses in stages. After the initial acute withdrawal, Continue reading
Now you can get a Handbook — NOW!
The waiting is over! Carry your SMART Handbook with you everywhere, on your smartphone or tablet. Or read it on your personal computer or laptop. Thanks to the talents and persistence of Laurie, one of our dedicated volunteers, the frequently requested ebook option for the Handbook is now a reality. The new Kindle edition contains the entire contents of the SMART Handbook, 3rd. ed., is fully indexed for efficient searching using the Kindle app search feature and is now available for instant download. Cost: $7.99
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Download the FREE Kindle App for smartphones, tablets, computers Continue reading
Enjoy Summer Without Getting Off Track
For many people, summer is the best time of the year. Warm weather, days at the beach, vacations… What’s not to love? But when you’re in recovery, especially early recovery, the pool parties and vacations of summer can be major relapse triggers. Here are some tips for enjoying summer without getting off track.
1. Plan ahead—If you know that you will be attending a party, barbecue, or other event that may be triggering, have an exit plan in place. Drive your own car so that you won’t get stuck there longer than you want to, or bring a sober friend along for support. If you are going on vacation, Continue reading
Gambling and Eating Disorders
On July 18, 2014 SMART Recovery Online will host Dr. Chris Tuell (Lindner Center of HOPE) and Ann Hull (The Hull Institute in Cleveland), in a joint presentation:
Behavioral Addictions: A Look at Gambling and Eating
Both Dr. Tuell and Ms. Hull have devoted their careers to the study and practice of addictive behaviors, and we are pleased to have their expertise to provide support for those struggling with eating disorders (ED) or gambling issues. This webinar is provided as educational opportunity for the SMART community and the public, to strengthen our knowledge, support, and compassion for those who come to SMART seeking mutual aid for eating disorders and gambling. Continue reading
How to help your potential support system really be helpful
~Josh King, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change
Many people start using substances (often as teens) as a way to engage socially. The reality is that almost all substances with abuse potential initially have a “social lubrication” effect (i.e., they are dis-inhibiting, relaxing, anxiety-reducing, buffers to self-criticism, enhancers of pleasure, etc). The problem? Further down the road (and sometimes right out of the gates), use patterns become much more solitary, withdrawn and isolated. Many have suffered through conflicts with family and friends and, by the time they seek treatment, feel disconnected from potential supporters of change. In addition, to break the destructive patterns that are in place when they seek treatment, they have to distance themselves from current friends who engage in the same behavior (party pals etc). The reality of “loss”…that is the loss of the relationship with the substance and with the people around it…and the awareness of distance from potentially supportive family and friends makes the early stages of change very hard to tolerate at times.
Research has shown time and again that having a robust support network can significantly reduce the odds of relapse Continue reading