Overview and definition, Causes, preventing a relapse

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The path to recovery comes with many twists and turns and doesn’t always go as planned. Relapse is a normal but dangerous phase of recovery.

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What is Relapse?

A relapse happens when a person stops maintaining his or her goal of reducing or avoiding the use of alcohol or other drugs and returns to previous levels of use.

Causes of Relapse
  • Tempting situations – circumstances or places where the person would have previously used
  • Triggering circumstances – insecure housing, professional or personal setbacks, social pressures or stigma
  • Pre-existing mental health or emotional issues
  • Pre-existing physical health issues
  • Guilt caused from a slip-up or lapse

[BUTTON] 40%-60% of people in recovery experience relapse

Preventing a Relapse

The best way to prevent a relapse is to practice coping behaviors consistently, build a support system, and avoid risk factors.

  • Have a list of personal reasons for staying sober
  • Use healthy examples of stress-relief strategies
  • Keep a schedule of local support group meetings
  • Have someone to call and a safe place to go


Active Recovery                                Local Treatment Directory                            12 Step Programs

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