Post-Acute Withdrawal Explained
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Causes of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Scientists have not pinned down one specific cause of the condition. It is largely thought to be due to changes in brain activity as a result of the varying effects drugs have on pathways, neurotransmitters and receptors. Some drugs are more likely than others to result in post-acute withdrawal syndrome, including:
- Benzodiazepines: The brain can easily develop a dependence on these drugs. Withdrawal symptoms mimic anxiety and panic disorders, which are often the reason people are given them in the first place. Fatigue, insomnia and cravings can last for months if not treated.
- Cannabis: People can develop a dependence on the calming effects of cannabis. Cessation can cause depression, irritability, restlessness, insomnia and paranoia if not managed.
- Stimulants: Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine can cause lapses in impulse control and lead to depression, agitation and weakness.
- Alcohol: Suddenly stopping alcohol increases the likelihood of developing the syndrome. Symptoms include feeling ill, exhaustion and long-term cravings.
- Opiates: Both prescription and illicit opiates can lead to post-acute withdrawal syndrome if not tapered off properly. Symptoms include cognitive impairment, cravings and exhaustion.
Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
- Mood swings
- Low energy
- Thought fog
- Inability to focus
- Loss of libido
- Chronic pain
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