Dictionary

 


Relapse

Once considered a failure of willpower, or an indictment against the treatment model, re-use of drugs or alcohol following treatment occurs in at least 50% of participants and relapse (return to excessive use) occurs in 20-30%. Recent brain-imaging studies show that previous sensitization of (drug) reward pathways makes users far more susceptible to relapse than logic would suggest. Triggers can stimulate the pathway extremely effectively and launch a former user toward use without conscious processing. Because of the predisposition for relapse and possible addiction recurrence, successful treatment includes maintenance (focus on needing recovery, vs. finally being cured), abstinence structure (see Sober Living, 12 Step) and random drug testing, stress tolerance (mindfulness, exercise, etc) and sometimes prescription medication.

http://www.hbo.com/addiction/aftercare/48_what_if_a_relapse_happens.html