Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW) can be a serious problem for nearly 90% of people in recovery from chemical addictions. There is hope. There are some simple recommendation that can help you manage PAW symptoms. In severe cases and when coexisting disorders, especially depression, are present, there are medications that can help. Don’t be too quick to start medications. The consistent use of five simple and straight forward steps can make a big difference in reducing the frequency and severity of PAW symptoms episodes. Here are the recommended steps in managing PAW:
1. Accurate Information: Explain PAW and have the person do a self-evaluation of PAW and review the results. This will give them words and ideas to explain what they are experiencing. It will also help people to stop feeling crazy, judging themselves for having the symptoms, and being anxious and afraid because they don’t know what is happening. Everything that needs to be covered in a comprehensive recovery education program on Post Acute Withdrawal is presented in the Comprehensive Guide to PAW.
2. Stress Management, Relaxation and Meditation: PAW is stress sensitive. This means the symptoms get more severe when experience high stress and less sever under low stress levels. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to be especially effective. (See the Blog: Mindfulness Made Simple)
3. Proper Diet: Have an alcohol and drug free diet. Eat a high protein, complex carbohydrate meal plan. The closest diet plan is a hypoglycemic diet. Ask a nutritionist or look it up the internet. Avoid foods high in sugar and limit your caffeine intake. Supplement with multiple vitamins,Vitamin B-12, and broad spectrum amino acids. (Eating Right To Live Sober is a book on solid no-nonsense nutrition principles that have stood the test of time.)
4. Aerobic Exercise: Doing heart-measured aerobic exercise at least twenty minutes per day, a minimum three-days per week in a heart-measured aerobic zone improves psychological well-being and overall health. To determine you aerobic training zone, subtract your age from 220. 80% of that number is you minimal training zone. 80% is the max). Too high or too low don’t seem to help much.
5. A Recovery Program: Have a regular schedule of recovery activities that put you in places and around people who support your recovery and where you can honestly talk about yourself without judgment. It is also important to having a sponsor/mentor and therapist trained as an addiction professional.
These practices seem to help stabilize brain chemistry, lower stress, and improve levels of self-esteem.
Don’t leave PAW management to chance.
Get a plan.
Work the plan.
If it doesn’t work, get additional help.
Please don’t spread the mistaken belief there is nothing that can be done to reduce the frequency and severity of PAW symptom episode. IT’S JUST IS NOT TRUE. The brain is plastic. It grows in response to experiences especially when stress in managed well during the experience.
THE MIND IS A POWERFUL THING — USE IT WISELY
This is an Excerpt From The Book: Straight Talk About Addiction
A friend of mine gave me the book entitled Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. She asked me to read it and tell her what I thought.
The main character was a severely retarded young man named Charlie Gordon, who becomes the first human subject in the trial of an experimental drug for treating mental retardation.
Algernon was one of a large group of rats that were bred to be retarded in order to test the new drug. All the rats developed and maintained long-term dramatic improvements. All of them except Algernon were sacrificed and dissected to confirm the success of the drug with no side effects.
Charlie became the first human subject to use the new drug. The researchers let Charlie build a relationship Algernon and teach him new skills. Charlie fell in love with Algernon.
Charlie kept a daily journal as part of the experiment and the book is written as if it were developed from Charlie’s journals. The book presents Charlie’s first person account of his life as a retarded (severely cognitively impaired) person. Then described his growing self and environmental awareness as he progressively developed above average cognition.
Charlie was functioning well and the researchers thought they had found a cure. Suddenly, Algernon, who aged far more rapidly than humans, regressed. Charlie knew it would happen to him also. He applied his knew-found genius to figuring out what caused Algernon’s regression.
He couldn’t figure out what went wrong. His journal reflects his descent back into severe dementia. Algernon dies Just before Charlie regressed back into severe intractable retardation. Charlie asks the researcher to get FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON and put them on his grave.
When I asked my friend why she wanted me to read the book, she said: “Terry, I think you already know!” And she was right. I did know. I thought of my father who disappeared before my eyes, a victim of progressive and untreatable dementia.
Flowers For Algernon gave me insight into what people suffering from progressive dementia must experience. It was a realistic sensitive and compelling look at a serious and far too common condition plaguing humanity.
The blog Gorski On Charting, sponsored by Medivance Billing, is being featured on the Behavioral Healthcare Magazine Website. The blog will be a bi-monthly series. Who ever thought clinicians could actually get excited about using assessment, treatment planning and documentation to become better therapists.
I am frequently asked about how many books I have published. In the past I had to say that I honestly didn’t know. I felt dumb every time I gave that answer. As an author I should know how many books and book chapter’s have been published. The truth is that I never kept count. Then yesterday I came a big surprise.
Today the great internet god poured a blessing down upon my head — actually it was printed on my computer screen. I accidentally found a website named www.ranker.com. I typed my name and there they all were — 27 books, in the order of popularity as measured by sales.
A BIG THANK YOU
to everyone who enjoys and uses my work.
Your support allows me to do even more.