What Is Protracted Withdrawal?

Protracted withdrawal is long-lasting withdrawal symptoms that can last for months to many years. Withdrawing from a substance is about how the body and mind change and adapt after stopping the use of drugs or alcohol.

What Is Protracted Withdrawal?

Long-lasting withdrawal, or protracted withdrawal syndrome, keeps going even when the first withdrawal is done, and it can last for many months or years. The length of time withdrawal takes is directly related to how much and how long the substance was used.

Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms

After someone stops using drugs or alcohol, they often go through protracted withdrawal and feel common side effects such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Desperately wanting to use the drug
  • Feeling mixed emotions
  • Forgetting everyday things

Even though the symptoms listed before happen often, there are many other signs and problems.

People might go through significant changes in their feelings, getting very angry or pulling away from others. They might forget things more and have trouble thinking clearly. They can also have a lot of emotional and thinking problems.

Some might not feel like being close or romantic during the initial withdrawal period. This drop in wanting to be close can happen because of how the brain is changing while it’s getting used to not having the drug.

post acute withdrawal syndrome and protracted withdrawal

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Acute withdrawal happens when you suddenly stop taking drugs or alcohol, and your mind and body’s dependence rely on it. It’s the first stage of withdrawal and is known as the detox period.

Both post-acute withdrawal syndrome and long-lasting withdrawal are typical stages in the cycle of addiction. However, stable withdrawal is when the signs and feelings stick around longer than the acute withdrawal phase or more than you would think they should.

Acute withdrawal symptoms can start shortly after stopping substance use and may persist for days or weeks. Symptoms can be severe. This early stage of withdrawal can bring both physical and mental symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle pains
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Throwing up
  • Feeling very tired
  • Feeling worried
  • Changes in mood
  • Getting easily annoyed

How Does Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) Compare to Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome (PWS)

Both conditions are expected for people trying to overcome addiction. The first phase of stopping use is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which involves symptoms that last from a few days to weeks. Protracted withdrawal syndrome (PWS) happens after that and has continued or long-lasting effects, lasting from months to years.

Physical signs of PAWS are feeling sick to your stomach, throwing up, and feeling dizzy. Mental symptoms like mood changes, lasting sadness, and anxiety are typical in people with PWS.

PAWS usually happens to people dealing with substance use problems. PWS is more about people who have used substances in more significant amounts and for a longer time.

Protracted Benzo Withdrawal

Getting off benzodiazepines doesn’t have a fixed time. It’s a long journey without any quick ways to make it shorter. Whether someone got benzodiazepines without following the law, like street drugs, or from a medical professional, quitting them is very hard.

Stopping benzodiazepines can cause one of the most challenging and dangerous kinds of withdrawal because it is a central nervous system depressant. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines mirrors the challenges of quitting alcohol.

Quitting benzodiazepines might change how you sleep, make you feel more nervous, cause sudden fear for no reason, make your heart beat weirdly, and lead to seizures and other serious problems.

Benzodiazepine protracted withdrawal symptoms might lead to seizures that could be life-threatening. Other common symptoms of protracted withdrawal from benzodiazepines include:

  • Tiredness
  • Feeling Weak
  • Trembling

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can lead to changes in sleep patterns, heightened tension, panic attacks, heart palpitations, and various other severe symptoms.

detox and withdrawal safely

Detox and Withdraw Safely with NATC

The United States is currently facing a surge in drug dependence, which is causing a significant number of deaths. It’s crucial to highlight that not all instances are connected to opioid drugs like heroin or fentanyl. Benzodiazepines are also contributing to the issue and must be acknowledged.

People in recovery must always be wary of the risk of relapse, highlighting the importance of avoiding suddenly stopping drug or alcohol use, called “quitting cold turkey.” Severe and possibly life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from long-term substance abuse, including antidepressants and benzodiazepines, have sparked significant health concerns.

Northridge Addiction Treatment Center (NATC) is a licensed and accredited rehabilitation facility that provides residential treatment and various behavioral therapies, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). We grasp the difficulties and concerns linked to embarking on the path to recovery. Our licensed team, capable of meeting your needs, will support you through the healing process.

At NATC, we provide the necessary tools to begin your recovery journey and prevent relapse. Our goal is to offer comprehensive support, using intensive, evidence-based treatment programs to reduce the chances of relapse. Through our caring and effective approach, we aim to promote long-term recovery.

At NATC, we provide on-site medical detox, dual diagnosis, and medication-assisted treatment. Our facility is committed to offering personalized guidance tailored to your journey to recovery.

If you, a friend, or a loved one needs professional, compassionate, and experienced treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our caring treatment specialists. Contact us today to begin the journey toward healing.

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Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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