What to Do After a Relapse

Sometimes, stressful events can trigger a relapse, particularly if the addictive substance or behavior was used to cope with stress. But happy events can also trigger a relapse, especially if others celebrate with alcohol. Relapse is even considered a stage in the stages-of-change model, which predicts that people will cycle through a process of avoiding, considering quitting, taking active steps to quit, and then relapsing.

The belief that addiction is a disease can make people feel hopeless about changing behavior and powerless to do so. Seeing addiction instead as a deeply ingrained and self-perpetuating habit that was learned and can be unlearned doesn’t mean it is easy to recover from addiction—but that it is possible, and people do it every day. It is in accord with the evidence that the longer a person goes without using, the weaker the desire to use becomes.

  • However, the use of rifampin, ciprofloxacin, or streptomycin alone has led to drug resistance in a few documented clinical reports.
  • In high-risk situations, the person expects alcohol to help him or her cope with negative emotions or conflict (i.e. when drinking serves as “self-medication”).
  • He was arrested several times and went to drug treatment facilities, only to walk out or relapse.
  • In general, the management of patients who experience relapse despite the completion of a DOT regimen that contained isoniazid and rifampin involves reinstituting the same regimen previously used until susceptibility results are available.

This insightful process serves as a motivation factor for the patient to stay sober and provide a safety net in case relapse occurs. The self-assessment that follows as a consequence of the process promotes increased level of conscious understanding and acceptance of situations and events that have led to past relapses. Also, it enhances coping skills, self-regulation, self-knowledge, and awareness in the management of relapse warnings and effectively arresting or reducing the risk of relapse. Along with the client, the therapist needs to explore past circumstances and triggers of relapse. Also, the client is asked to keep a current record where s/he can self-monitor thoughts, emotions or behaviours prior to a binge. One is to help clients identify warning signs such as on-going stress, seemingly irrelevant decisions and significant positive outcome expectancies with the substance so that they can avoid the high-risk situation.

Due to limited financial resources and time, this research was focused on one detoxication and rehabilitation centre while there are other centres in the country. Secondly, as the study was retrospective cross-sectional design, it was limited to available data, therefore some variables (e.g. household wealth index, medication) that were found in the literature were not collected in the medical records. Furthermore, the study was limited to the target population that did not permit the researchers to generalize at the national level .

She briefly relapsed twice after being released from the hospital. Remember, if you are trying to quit, you should plan for and try to avoid relapse. But if you do relapse, you should accept that it is a normal part of quitting and resolve to learn from the experience. People can move on from the relapse with a stronger commitment to avoiding future relapses by avoiding or managing triggers before they occur.

The findings will also contribute to setting up preventive strategies for reducing the the signs of a high functioning alcoholic on substance use and manage its risk factors. We hypothesized that SUD would increase the probability of a high prevalence of relapse among patients with SUD and that socio-demographic characteristics would constitute independent risk factors for the relapse in the targeted setting for this research. The independent variables were collected using medical records and registers.

Specific Intervention strategies in Relapse Prevention

It is important to know that relapse does not represent a moral weakness. It reflects the difficulty of resisting a return to substance use in response to what may be intense cravings but before new coping strategies have been learned and new routines have been established. For that reason, some experts prefer not to use the term “relapse” but to use more morally neutral terms such as “resumed” use or a “recurrence” of symptoms. Research has found that getting help in the form of supportive therapy from qualified professionals, and social support from peers, can prevent or minimize relapse. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy can help people overcome the fears and negative thinking that can trigger relapse. The deliberation entails what action to take if the patient begins to use alcohol and/or drugs.


For example, if the animal receives an injection of the drug in question it will likely begin working on the operant task for which it was previously reinforced. The stimulus may be the drug itself, the visual stimulus that was initially paired with the drug intake, or a stressor such as an acoustic startle or foot shock. However, the stimulus used to trigger reinstatement can influence the psychological processes involved. The protocol was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of College of Medicine and Health Sciences (IRB/CMHS) at the University of Rwanda (No 307/CMHS IRB/2019). Permission to conduct the study at IPC which is the branch of Ndera Neuropsychiatric hospital was obtained from the Ethical Committee of that Hospital (N° 007/CNEC/2019).

Relapse Risk Factors

These factors stemming from a negative emotional state are prone to having a negative effect on self-efficacy, motivation, positive outcome expectancies, coping skills, and interpersonal determinants of lapse. Although emotional state is not a significant lone predictor of lapse, the findings suggest that treating depressive, negative affect symptoms after a lapse may be crucial to cessation. Little research is available on why alcohol disrupts your sleep following SUD treatment in Rwanda.

Good treatment programs recognize the relapse process and teach people workable exit strategies from such experiences. Recovery is a process of growth and establishing a sustainable life. Experts in addiction recovery believe that relapse is a process that occurs somewhat gradually; it can begin weeks or months before picking up a drink or a drug. Moreover, it occurs in identifiable stages, and identifying the stages can help people take action to prevent full-on relapse. However, other cognitive theories have provided different insights and identified several cognitive biases that are likely to be involved in cue reactivity.


This leads to poor relapse prevention strategies in different rehabilitation centresers. After realizing that the prevalence of SUD is high especially in youth and most of people treated in those centre are often the same due to relapse, we decided to conduct this study to show its prevalence and the reasons of relapse. The rationale of this study is that the findings will provide knowledge as baseline for other researchers to carry out the similar or related studies countrywide.

Addiction Relapse: Stages, Prevention, and Treatment

How individuals deal with setbacks plays a major role in recovery—and influences the very prospects for full recovery. Many who embark on addiction recovery see it in black-and-white, all-or-nothing terms. They see setbacks as failures because the accompanying disappointment sets off cascades of negative thinking and feeling, on top of the guilt and shame that most already feel about having succumbed to addiction.


Although all data analyzed are included within this article, they may be shared when necessary but also data collection forms. Outpatient treatment, where you go home at night and on weekends but engage in services during the day. Some outpatient programs meet a few hours a week, while some may require up to 20 hours per week.

Song “Must Be the Ganja” follows, where Eminem raps that working in the recording studio is like a drug and an addiction for him. Relapse opens with the skit “Dr. West”, where actor Dominic West voices a drug counselor whose untrustworthiness causes Eminem to fall back to drugs and the return to his Slim Shady character. The skit leads to “3 A.M.”, where Eminem depicts himself as a serial killer during a murder spree.

Positive social support is highly predictive of long-term abstinence rates across several addictive behaviours. Among social variables, the degree of social support available from the most supportive person in the network may be the best predictor of reducing drinking, and the number of supportive relationships also strongly predicts abstinence. Further, the more non-drinking friends a person with an AUD has, the better outcomes tend to be. Negative social support in the form of interpersonal conflict and social pressure to use substances has been related to an increased risk for the truth about relapse rates and addiction recovery. Social pressure may be experienced directly, such as peers trying to convince a person to use, or indirectly through modelling (e.g. a friend ordering a drink at dinner) and/or cue exposure. Self-efficacy is defined as the degree to which an individual feels confident and capable of performing certain behaviour in a specific situational context5.

Study design

Seemingly irrelevant decisions are those behaviours that are early in the path of decisions that place the client in a high-risk situation. For example, if the client understands that using alcohol in the day time triggers a binge, agreeing for a meeting in the afternoon in a restaurant that serves alcohol would be a SID5. The initial transgression of problem behaviour after a quit attempt is defined as a “lapse,” which could eventually lead to continued transgressions to a level that is similar to before quitting and is defined as a “relapse”.

RP has also been used in eating disorders in combination with other interventions such as CBT and problem-solving skills4. If interest rates are set too high, the country may well relapse into recession. Improve your vocabulary with English Vocabulary in Use from Cambridge. If you or someone you know experiences a relapse, there are things that you can do to cope and get help. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only.

As the neurobiological basis of cue reactivity has been mapped, it is clear that reactivity involves a complex system of interrelated processes. Finally, it is important to gauge how cue reactivity can be applied to clinical aspects of addiction and inform treatment. Getting appropriate treatment for co-occurring mental health and medical conditions can also help reduce your risk of relapse. After “Hello”, where Eminem re-introduces himself after years of being absent “mentally”, he continues his violent fantasies on “Same Song & Dance”, where he abducts and murders Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

How to Prevent Relapse

Attention to sleep and healthy eating is minimal, as is attention to emotions and including fun in one’s life. Self-care helps minimize stress—important because the experience of stress often encourages those in recovery to glamorize past substance use and think about it longingly. There is an important distinction to be made between a lapse, or slipup, and a relapse. The distinction is critical to make because it influences how people handle their behavior.

Placing significance on successful affect regulation to prevent relapse is a main theme in addiction treatment. For Alcoholics Anonymous , individuals learn skills in coping, motivation, self-efficacy, social changes, and spirituality; however, anger is exclusively tagged as a high-risk emotion for relapse to alcohol. While examining anger as a predictor of relapse, researchers of a 2010 study found that anger levels at intake were found to be significantly higher than those of the general population. The mean score measuring anger for the group was in the 98th percentile, dropping to the 89th percentile 15 months preceding initial intake. It is worth noting that those who score above the 75th percentile are likely to experience anger intense enough to interfere with relationships, psychological and physical disorders, and psychosocial functioning.

Despite the fact that relapse is a well-recognized aspect of recovery from an addiction, many people attempting to quit an addiction will feel they have failed if they relapse. They might abandon their efforts, feeling that quitting is too difficult for them. Even some treatment programs take a hard line on participants who relapse.

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