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What Are Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms?

a woman struggles to hide the symptoms of her post acute alcohol withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms are common among people affected by alcoholism when they stop drinking. These symptoms can make you feel highly distressed and uncomfortable. Fortunately, alcohol detox near Denver can help you weather them and reach a sober state. However, you may experience ongoing, post-acute withdrawal symptoms even after completing detox. Recovery from these symptoms typically requires longer-term professional treatment and support. Contact Northpoint Colorado at 888.231.1281 for more information.

Understanding Acute Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms you experience while actively detoxing from alcohol are acute. Symptoms of this type have two main features. First, they are relatively short-term. In addition, they have a strong, prominent effect on your brain and body. Common examples of these acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Trembling muscles
  • Pupil dilation
  • Skin that’s clammy or pale
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Headaches
  • A down or depressed state of mind

Most people experience the most intense forms of these symptoms within roughly 72 hours of quitting drinking. From this point onward, the acute effects of withdrawal start to fade.

Defining Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

In an ideal world, the potential effects of quitting drinking would end with acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But in reality, this is usually not the case. In recovery, three out of four people will also develop post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

What is post-acute withdrawal? As the name implies, it’s a syndrome that occurs after your acute symptoms start to fall off. No one knows precisely why this syndrome appears. However, it’s probably linked to long-term brain changes triggered by alcoholism. Other names for the same problem include protracted withdrawal syndrome and post-withdrawal syndrome. They also include prolonged withdrawal syndrome.

Specific Effects of Post-Acute Withdrawal

In some ways, post-acute alcohol withdrawal is similar to the effects of depression and bipolar disorder. It also bears a resemblance to some of the impacts of anxiety disorders. Specific issues you may experience include:

  • A depressed mood
  • Bouts of anxiousness or outright panic
  • An unstable mood
  • Memory disruptions
  • Disruptions in other high-level brain functions
  • A pessimistic or apathetic outlook on life
  • Ongoing cravings for alcohol
  • Sleep difficulties

Some of these issues are continuations of acute withdrawal symptoms. However, others only occur when acute withdrawal ends. Post-acute symptoms often become more intense in high-stress situations.

How Long Do Post-Acute Symptoms Last?

How long will you be affected by post-acute withdrawal? There is no single answer that fits all people in recovery. The syndrome often lasts for several weeks. However, it can also continue to affect you for months or even longer.

Treating Your Symptoms

Both medication and therapy may be used to treat post-acute alcohol withdrawal. The medication of choice is often acamprosate, which is also used in primary alcohol withdrawal treatment. It appears to work by helping to re-balance your brain function. Your treatment plan may also include other medication options.

Therapies helpful in treating alcoholism often play a role in treating post-acute withdrawal. Common options include cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. You may also benefit from another therapy option.

Get More Information on Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms at Northpoint Colorado

Want to learn more about post-acute alcohol withdrawal? The professionals at Northpoint are standing by to assist you. We can provide full details on this common byproduct of alcohol treatment. We can also show you how it can be effectively overcome.

Northpoint Colorado is your source for quality alcohol detox and rehab programs. With our help, you can successfully reach a state of initial sobriety. You can also learn how to weather the ups and downs of ongoing alcohol recovery. Call us today at 888.231.1281 or reach out through our online form.