tattoo tommy wrote:
FFS ... whoever invented this idea of PAWS needs a slap on the back of the head.
The reality is, if nobody knew PAWS existed, they would even notice it if they were going through it. People have been getting off opioids for decades before this idea of PAWS was even considered. You may occasionally find post-detox periods a bit challenging, or you may feel cravings, but that's a normal part of early recovery.
Whoever decided to pathologise early recovery, and give it a dreaded title like "Post-Acute-Withdrawal-Syndrome" really didn't consider the effects of their actions. All it can do is scare people away from attempting abstinence.
For the sake of your recovery, I suggest you scrub this idea / notion / concept of PAWS from your mind, and replace it with something more hopeful and useful like - "re-learning how to live a healthy life with no drugs in your system".
These days I lug PAWS in with the other pseudo-scientific "syndromes" perpetuated by women's magazines - like PHSS (post-holiday stress syndrome) and PIS (post-incarceration syndrome)
How long have you been odff sub?,,And can you say briefly how long of a taper you did?,,cause since you are one of a few who hasnt experienced PAWS,,maybe you can help those that have to get off sub for whatever reasons. I have friends that apparently didnt do it right,,maybe got off too soon ,,but they experienced PAWS, if ya wanna call it that.
I got off long acting opioids twice - once with 13 months clean, another I stayed clean for 9 months. Both times were before I'd ever heard of this PAWS thing.. One of the times I jumped off a high dose of bupe (6+ mg), the other I went straight from heroin to detox.
Looking back I probably did probably experiencing some symptoms that could be classed as PAWS. I sweated more easily for a good 3 months, and I was a bit edgy, like a fish out of water. I felt awkward and like a "shell" of a human, like I needed to rediscover myself on some fundamental level. I suffered premature ejaculation (proved handy given I was in a rehab where sex wasn't allowed) .. And I also felt some really mild residual withdrawal symptoms from time to time, but never enough to impede my life.
I guess the reason I wasn't surprised that I had residual symptoms was because I never assumed that post-detox I would be 100% fit. Of Course!! it takes a while to adjust and settle after detox, and I never assumed otherwise. Acute withdrawal really, for me, only a tiny slice of what makes up recovery. I always knew the real challenge lay after detox - ie staying clean. Maybe I was so focused on staying clean that I kinda neglected any residual physical symptoms I was going through.
The other main thing is, at least for me, the first time I got clean and stayed clean for about a year, I'd been on opioids for so long I couldn't even remember what it felt like to be clean. Come post-detox, I had no real comparison to know whether what I was experiencing was normal or "PAWS". The only way I could tell with any accuracy was with hindsight. ie at 6 months clean I could tell how sick I was at 2 months... same with 12 months looking back at 6 months. IMO it's a futile act, while in early recovery (especially the first 3 months), to try and assess whether what you're experiencing is PAWS or just how it feels to live without drugs. I was running on the faith that things would get better (all the NANA's told me so), and that I would have some kinda insight into the process of recovery as I got some clean time under my belt.
I guess my issue is not whether or not PAWS exists, it's whether or not we should be pathologising the idea, and giving it a name, and freaking people out with the concept. IMO all people need to know is that their body and mind still has some adjusting to do post-detox, and they're not 100% recovered once their withdrawal symptoms finish. Especially with long acting opioids like methadone and Suboxone, there isn't really a start and end to detox in the same sense as heroin. With Sub, and esp methadone, it kinda "fades away" slowly and, at least for me, I would still get flashes of residual withdrawal.
I guess I've drawn a line for myself as to where I stop pathologising things, not because I disagree, but because it's not useful for me to do so. And pathologising early recovery and giving it a medical term like PAWS only seems to freak people out.