Even after adequate treatment, relapse is a possibility for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 40–60% of people in recovery from a substance use disorder will experience a setback

The Recovery Village recently surveyed 2,136 American adults who either wanted to stop drinking alcohol or had already tried to (successfully or not). Of those, only 29.4% reported not relapsing at all. The largest group (32.3%) relapsed back to alcohol use within the first year after stopping.

However, a relapse doesn’t mean failure. It’s an opportunity to reevaluate and modify behavior or consider returning to treatment. Because a drug or alcohol relapse can be dangerous, it’s important to know the signs and how to act if you or someone you love experiences a recurrence of use. 

Find relapse-related topics and information to better understand and serve those who may need help.

How to Handle Heartbreak without Relapsing

Euphoric Recall

Pink Cloud Syndrome

5 Reasons Relapse Doesn’t Mean You’ve Failed

5 Signs A Loved One May Be Relapsing

How to Curb Cravings in Addiction Recovery

How Overconfidence Can Lead to Relapse

Mocktails and Alcohol-Free Drinks in Recovery

Bouncing Back After A Relapse

What to Do if You Have A Relapse or Slip

How to Help Someone Who is Experiencing a Relapse

Relapse Risk Factors

Avoiding Relapse Due to Boredom

How to Cope with Relapse Risks Over the Holidays

Living in recovery can be challenging — especially if you’re newly sober — because life is stressful…

How to Handle Stress in Recovery and Its Risk Toward Relapse

We’re often told in addiction support groups that we should be cautious of extreme states which can lead to us feeling stressed

How to Help a Friend from Rehab Who Relapses

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.