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Going to Drug Rehab? Better ask this one Question

Ask about PAWS before going to drug rehabGoing to drug rehab is a big step for many people and there are probably a ton of questions you’d like to ask before you venture off into sobriety. However, every addict’s questions are a little different: some want to know about types of treatment, some are looking for Christian rehab or Gay rehab, etc., and some just want to know what the food is like. But the fact of the matter is that there’s one major question that you can use to determine if the drug treatment center you’re considering is the right one for you or a loved one:

If the answer is no, you might want to reconsider. That’s because Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is the condition thought to be responsible for nearly all cases of drug or alcohol relapse. A true neurological condition, PAWS strikes shortly after detox, but symptoms might not be easily discernible for the first few weeks – especially with the stress and tumultuousness of quitting drugs and going to rehab masking symptoms.

Unfortunately, what often happens is that recovering addicts and alcoholics are essentially “warehoused” in a treatment center for 28 days. When they leave rehab, PAWS symptoms are just beginning to become pronounced and may sustain for some time – even up to two years. So when rehab is over, the battle is just beginning. But when drug treatment centers don’t prepare their clients for life after rehab and don’t educate them about PAWS, they are doing little more than setting them up for failure.

Many addicts report severe PAWS symptoms that leave them bewildered and frustrated, and eventually they relapse in order to find relief from these feelings and physical ailments. Addicts who are aware of Post Acute Withdrawal and have received education on the matter stand to fare much better – this is especially true of people in recovery who seek treatment for their symptoms because they are educated and fully aware of exactly what it is they are experiencing.

The truth is that 91% of addicts will experience PAWS, but less than 13% will get treatment for it, and very few people in recovery – indeed, few professionals in the treatment industry – are aware of this condition, take it seriously and proactively work to mitigate its effects. Considering the high rates of relapse for nearly all types of substances, this is an unacceptable fallacy.

So if you or a family member are working with a drug treatment center to see if it’s a good fit, make sure they address PAWS as part of treatment. If they aren’t familiar with the condition or don’t encompass it as part of their regular program, then the treatment being offered doesn’t really extend beyond the traditional 28 days offered by most rehab centers. After that, the policy is:

On the other hand, drug treatment centers that do focus on PAWS (there are embarrassingly few in the U.S.) give an addict or alcoholic a priceless tool to help stave off the urge to use drugs or drink again and thereby maintain their sobriety for one more day. At these types of rehabs and drug clinics, the treatment is not over when the addict leaves the rehab. In fact, completing rehab is just the beginning; and with the right treatment, you’ll have exactly what you need to succeed.

Need more information on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome? Consider these links:


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