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Relapse Prevention

Updated on September 16, 2017

Most people when they think of the word relapse they think of only drug relapses. A relapse occurs when a person is affected by a condition that affected their life in the past such as sex, drugs, gambling, nicotine, food, etc. This can also be a medical condition or a psychological condition. Many times a person suffering from a addiction is also suffering from a mental condition.

In my opinion, all addicts are suffering from some kind of mental condition. Most appear to be trying to escape a pain that is too intolerable to cope with sober, and by the time they realize how much of their addiction they are consuming they can't quit.

Certain psychological disorders tend to have a higher rate of relapse than others, such as depression and anxiety.

Addictive disorders, such as alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, overeating, and pathological gambling, are well known for high levels of relapse.

Men have a higher rate of relapse, likely because women more often participate in group and individual counseling.

Percentage likely to relapse (according to recent statistics)

  • 33% for people who gamble pathologically
  • 90% for people who quit smoking
  • 50% for people who abuse alcohol
  • Within one year of treatment, people struggling with obesity typically regain 30% to 50% of the weight they lost.
  • 40 - 60% for people suffering from substance abuse
  • 50 - 90% for people suffering from an addiction and a mention condition

“A relapse (etymologically, "who falls again") occurs when a person is affected again by a condition that affected them in the past. This could be a medical or psychological condition such as depression, an eating disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or an addiction to a drug.” - From Wikipedia

“Relapse prevention is a cognitive-behavioral approach with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations such as substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive behavior, sexual offending, obesity, and depression.” - From Wikipedia

A relapse may start weeks sometimes months before a person may begin using. The first two stages of a relapse have everything to do with your emotional and mental well-being.

Emotional - you're not thinking about using, but emotions and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse. This is when your irrational thinking begins trying to dominant your rational thinking.

Warning Sings

  • increased anxiety
  • intolerance
  • anger
  • defensiveness
  • mood swings
  • isolation
  • poor eating and sleeping habits
  • poor hygiene

Mental - you are beginning to want to use. By the later phase you are definitely wanting to use.

Warning Signs

  • Lying
  • Thinking about people you've used with
  • Justifying how to use again without considering it a relapse
  • Hanging out with old friends that still use

A relapse trigger is any person, place, thing, or situation which reminds a person of their addiction use.

The 10 most common relapse triggers:

  1. Being in the presence of your addiction, addiction users, or places where your addiction was a problem.
  2. Negative feelings such as anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and anxiety.
  3. Positive feelings that make you want to celebrate.
  4. Boredom.
  5. Getting high on any drug.
  6. Physical pain.
  7. Listening to war stories and just dwelling on getting high.
  8. Suddenly having a lot of cash.
  9. Using prescription drugs that can get you high even if you properly use them.
  10. Believing that you are in control and can use occasionally.

Relapse Prevention Coping Skills

  • Avoid high risk situations including Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness (HALT)
  • Learn to Relax
  • Be honest to yourself and others
  • Use a Relapse Prevention Workbook


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    • profile image

      Nestor C. Sirilan Jr. 

      7 years ago

      Thanks fluffy you're the best :D, it helped me finish my SIP[Science Investigatory Project].

      A Well written hub

    • Fluffymetal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Texas

      Thank you

    • liljen23 profile image

      Jennifer Crowder 

      8 years ago from Shreveport,LA

      This is a great and well thought out hub on relapse. Thanks for the read..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome and very well written hub ... thanks for the mention on my hub

    • LeanMan profile image


      8 years ago from At the Gemba

      Very good hub.... It tells me to stay away from women lest I relapse and end up divorced again.. and again..

    • mythbuster profile image


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Nice, easy to understand information here, Fluffymetal. How are you doing?

    • Fluffymetal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Texas

      Thank you

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Great info with very good pictures to deliver your message on relapse prevention from whatever addiction one might have. Congrats on being nominated to the HubNuggets Wannabe Contest for this week.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hello Fluffymetal! This is ripplemaker dropping by to announce your Hubnugget nomination. You must check your email too! This way to the Hubnuggets. Be sure to vote and promote your hub!

    • Fluffymetal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for your comments.

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Nice hub. I was wondering if you would mention boredom, and you did. I don't have any addictions, but boredom and negative feelings definitely bring out my bad habits (except feeling anxiety, which triggers me to exercise more).

    • Williamjordan profile image


      8 years ago from Houston TX

      great hub thinks for your insight

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Brilliant hub as I am trying to quit smoking! I hope I can kick it this time, knowing the triggers and warning signs will help. Thanks!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Brilliant hub. Thanks, I especially appreciated the 10 triggers list.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      This was really good, fluffy! I appreciate you pointing out that relapse can be related to anything. Sickness, or whatever calamity. And I love your closing picture! Perfect!!!!!!!!

    • PaulaK profile image

      Paula Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Austin. Texas

      A well written hub. You hit the triggers well and explained it well. Way to go.

    • Fluffymetal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Texas

      Thank you!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Fluffymetal-what an awesome hub! I only wish I'd been aware of my anger brewing last summer after I'd quit smoking for 3 months. Ironically, I was sitting in an AA meeting, feeling pissed off at some of the members, and went home only to light up again. I didn't drink, though! :)

      Alas, I've got to quit again in order to have surgery, so I'll not be going to AA anymore. Too many cliques, if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for giving such a great outline!


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