How to Manage Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome is the greatest threat to addicts’ abilities to complete treatment, stay sober, and lead fulfilling lives. Not only does PAWS make it difficult for rehab patients to take full advantage of their therapies – it causes people to return to drugs years after they complete clinical treatment. Because almost all recovering addicts suffer from PAWS, addressing this dangerous condition is one of the best ways to lower rates of relapse. To improve their chances of long-term sobriety, rehab patients and their loved ones should learn a variety of effective strategies for managing Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

Education and Understanding Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Rehab clinicians must educate their patients about the signs, symptoms, and dangers of PAWS. Addicts often put great efforts into their recoveries, only to experience continued cravings caused by post acute withdrawal. They can easily become frustrated and discouraged with their perceived lacks of progress, and some rehab patients may even give up and quit their treatment programs. Proper education allows addicts to endure their short-lived symptoms, knowing that dedication to their therapies will still produce long-term results.

Careful Medication

In some cases, people who suffer Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome will require medication to suppress their symptoms and productively participate in their addiction therapies. The physical symptoms of PAWS are distractingly painful, and certain emotional effects can rob sufferers of their cognitive faculties. While it is always dangerous to medicate addicts, doctors can prevent abuse by writing moderate prescriptions and carefully monitoring their patients.

Meditation and Prayer

Spiritual exercises often give addicts the strength to endure even the most painful post acute withdrawal symptoms. People who struggle with this condition can appeal to a higher power and ease their emotional burdens through meditation and prayer. Spirituality doesn’t have to involve organized religion, though addicts who prescribe to a specific faith often gain additional support from their ministers and congregations.

Treating Mental Illnesses

People who develop drug addictions frequently suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. These illnesses not only exacerbate addictive behaviors – they can make recovery all but impossible. To help patients endure the mental effects of PAWS, rehab specialists must address such conditions through separate therapies. Anti-depressants and other medications may also be crucial for these addicts to take full advantage of their recovery programs.

Extended Treatment

While some addicts are able to make rapid lifestyle changes during their initial rehab programs, others find their progress stagnated by the effects of post acute withdrawal. It is sometimes necessary for these patients to undergo additional treatment before they are ready to lead fully independent, drug-free lives. Thankfully, most rehab clinics offer transitional treatment plans call day and night programs. Addicts who attend them still receive hours of proven therapies each day – but they are free to leave their clinics at night. They return home under the supervision of clinic staff members who ensure that they stay away from drugs and practice their new lifestyles.

Whether you’ve just complete addiction treatment or you’ve been sober for years, PAWS is the most significant threat to your recovery. If you’re struggling with drug cravings, call the number above for a toll-free consultation with one of our compassionate representatives. Clinical therapy may be the best way for you to deal with the symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and stay clean for life.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
Recovery First is located in Hollywood, Florida, which is easily accessible from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Our small groups means you get more one-on-one support and make stronger connections with the community. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Florida's Atlantic coast or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.