Relapse prevention for addictive behaviors

Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2011 Jul 19;6:17. doi: 10.1186/1747-597X-6-17.


The Relapse Prevention (RP) model has been a mainstay of addictions theory and treatment since its introduction three decades ago. This paper provides an overview and update of RP for addictive behaviors with a focus on developments over the last decade (2000-2010). Major treatment outcome studies and meta-analyses are summarized, as are selected empirical findings relevant to the tenets of the RP model. Notable advances in RP in the last decade include the introduction of a reformulated cognitive-behavioral model of relapse, the application of advanced statistical methods to model relapse in large randomized trials, and the development of mindfulness-based relapse prevention. We also review the emergent literature on genetic correlates of relapse following pharmacological and behavioral treatments. The continued influence of RP is evidenced by its integration in most cognitive-behavioral substance use interventions. However, the tendency to subsume RP within other treatment modalities has posed a barrier to systematic evaluation of the RP model. Overall, RP remains an influential cognitive-behavioral framework that can inform both theoretical and clinical approaches to understanding and facilitating behavior change.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / prevention & control*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Secondary Prevention*
  • Tertiary Prevention / methods*
  • Tertiary Prevention / trends