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Drug Rehab – Dealing with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is the most threatening condition for anyone undergoing drug rehab. With symptoms that flare up months and sometimes years after treatment, PAWS can cause even the most dedicated drug rehab patients to experience relapses. It is crucial for addicts to understand the nature of post acute withdrawal so that they may take the necessary steps to mitigate its effects. Here are the most common experiences, symptoms, and treatment methods for people in drug rehab.

Rapid Onset and Delayed Effects

For most addicts, PAWS sets in immediately after detoxification. Rehab patients experience more severe withdrawal symptoms during the actual detox process, but their cravings and associated ailments can linger for months. In fact, some addicts report powerful cravings and other symptoms years after they leave their treatment facilities.

The Symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

PAWS symptoms can be physical, mental, and emotional. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Lasting drug cravings
  • New cravings for food, alcohol, and other addictive substances
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Heightened pain sensitivity
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Slurred Speech
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Emotional numbness or overreaction

Obstructing Treatment

PAWS can severely affect addicts’ abilities to successfully engage their therapies during their clinical drug rehab programs. Even people who are enthusiastic and positive about their treatments will find it difficult to concentrate as they experience powerful cravings, headaches, and other distracting symptoms. Focused effort from patients is vital to the success of addiction treatment, so these symptoms must be addressed.

Social Difficulties

The visible symptoms of post acute withdrawal can make it extremely difficult for addicts to find social acceptance. Laypeople often assume that recovering addicts who exhibit speech impediments or motor impairment are still under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This phenomenon is known as “dry drunkenness,” and it is highly frustrating for addicts who struggle to create new lives in a world rife with drug-related stereotypes.

Continued Cravings

Because addiction is a permanent disease, virtually all addicts will experience cravings throughout the rests of their lives. These cravings are the most dangerous symptoms of PAWS, and they make relapse a constant threat. Some addicts have reported feeling fine for years after treatment, only to succumb to powerful and unexpected urges to use.

Education for Prevention

Because PAWS is the number-one cause of relapse, addiction specialists are now making its mitigation a top priority at their clinics. The most important step they are taking is to educate their patients on the nature and effects of this crippling condition. Rehab patients can easily become discouraged with their efforts when they experience cravings and the apparent effects of intoxication – even while sober. When they understand that these symptoms are expected and natural, they have more confidence to move forward with their treatment programs and develop lasting strategies for staying sober.

Effective Treatments

Rehab clinicians also help their patients deal directly with certain PAWS symptoms. In some cases, medications are necessary for reducing physical and emotional pain. In other instances, additional counseling sessions are used to help people avoid stress-related relapse. Finally, many addicts find solace in prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices.

Whether you are struggling with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or have not yet sought addiction treatment, there is hope. Call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free consultation with one of our dedicated addiction specialists. We proudly offer one of the most successful drug rehab programs in the country – let us help you regain control of your life and find happiness once again.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More