Coping with PAWS

element sunrays blue

Coping with PAWS: Strategies for Managing Post-Acute Symptoms

If you’ve recently completed addiction treatment, congratulations! However, you might be experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can make your recovery journey more challenging. PAWS is a set of physical and emotional symptoms that can last for weeks or months after quitting drugs or alcohol. In this article, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you cope with PAWS and avoid relapse.

What Are Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms?

PAWS can occur after the acute withdrawal period, which typically lasts for a week or two. PAWS can be difficult to manage, and it’s important to understand that it’s a normal part of the recovery process. PAWS symptoms can include:

Understanding PAWS

PAWS can occur due to changes in the brain’s chemistry caused by drug or alcohol abuse. The brain tries to adapt to the presence of these substances and produces more neurotransmitters to counteract their effects. When the substance is removed, the brain has to readjust to the new balance of neurotransmitters. This process can take time and cause physical and emotional symptoms.

element sunrays blue

Coping Strategies


PAWS can last for weeks or months after quitting drugs or alcohol.

In some cases, medication can be helpful for managing PAWS symptoms. Talk to a psychiatrist or addiction specialist for more information.

No, exercise can actually improve mood and reduce stress, which can help with PAWS symptoms.

No, PAWS symptoms can vary from person to person and depend on the substance used and the individual’s history of use.

Yes, PAWS can make recovery more challenging and increase the risk of relapse. It’s important to have a support network and coping strategies in place to manage PAWS symptoms.