PAWS Treatment & Denial Management is Key to Rehab Success

According to leaders in the industry and a number of the most successful drug rehab centers in the country, the success of any particular drug rehab program is dependent upon the proper integration of PAWS treatment and Denial Management. Unfortunately, many drug addiction treatment centers in the United States do not place a primary focus on these two critical components of substance abuse treatment, and consequently thousands of people will be more likely to relapse. Understanding why PAWS and Denial Management are such important factors in breaking the cycle of addiction or alcoholism is essential to developing the right treatment program for the right patient.


PAWS is an acronym for Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. This is a condition that occurs immediately after Acute Withdrawal and can cause significant emotional, behavioral and physical problems for the recovering addict or alcoholic. PAWS is generally thought to be the primary cause of relapse in recovering individuals because it is not properly addressed. This is important to understand because the symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can be severe and include:

  • Powerful Urges to Use Drugs or Alcohol
  • Depression
  • Unexplained or Unprovoked Anger
  • Confusion and an Inability to Organize Thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Motor Skills Impairment (Dry Drunk)
  • Inability to Solve Simple Problems
  • Lack of Concentration

These and other PAWS symptoms set in after Acute Withdrawal and can last for months or even years. In some people symptoms will be present consistently, while in others the effects are felt intermittently. Whatever the case may be, the symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can lead a person in recovery to relapse in an effort to self medicate these symptoms.


Denial refers to an emotional and mental state where a person cannot accept the truth about their situation despite compelling evidence. Denial is the primary mechanism by which addiction and alcoholism survives and grows. This is what causes people to say things like:

  • I don’t have a drinking problem.
  • It’s not as bad as you think.
  • I can handle it.
  • It’s not hurting anyone.
  • I can stop any time I want to.

However, denial also persists even after an addict or alcoholic has sought drug rehab treatment. This can be in the form of doubts about their ability to remain sober, exaggerations about their past, present or future, or thoughts that pull a patient away from their drug addiction treatment goals.

Because Denial and Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome are such severe threats to a lifetime of successful recovery, they must be addressed at the commencement of a drug rehab program and continue throughout an addict’s life. Because drug addiction and alcoholism are incurable neurological diseases, they must be treated with a long term plan to address denial and PAWS. This must be the center of focus in order for a drug rehab program to be successful, regardless of what type of drug addiction treatment or alcohol addiction treatment a person enters:

Inpatient Drug Rehab
Medical Monitoring Residential Inpatient Drug Rehab
Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Partial Hospitalization Treatment or Day/Night Treatment

If you or someone you love suffers from addiction or alcoholism, get help right now by addressing denial and PAWS. Our drug rehab center is considered on the most successful in the country because these two issues are the primary focus of what we do. Take action now by calling for a free, confidential consultation regardless of where you are or what time it is.

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