Relapse prevention for alcohol and drug problems: that was Zen, this is Tao

Am Psychol. 2004 May-Jun;59(4):224-35. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.4.224.


Relapse prevention, based on the cognitive-behavioral model of relapse, has become an adjunct to the treatment of numerous psychological problems, including (but not limited to) substance abuse, depression, sexual offending, and schizophrenia. This article provides an overview of the efficacy and effectiveness of relapse prevention in the treatment of addictive disorders, an update on recent empirical support for the elements of the cognitive-behavioral model of relapse, and a review of the criticisms of relapse prevention. In response to the criticisms, a reconceptualized cognitive-behavioral model of relapse that focuses on the dynamic interactions between multiple risk factors and situational determinants is proposed. Empirical support for this reconceptualization of relapse, the future of relapse prevention, and the limitations of the new model are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Recurrence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*