Management of adults recovering from alcohol or other drug problems: relapse prevention in primary care

JAMA. 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1227-31. doi: 10.1001/jama.279.15.1227.


Patients recovering from substance use disorders are commonly seen in the primary care setting, and relapse is a serious long-term problem for these patients. Extrapolating from therapeutic strategies effective in specialty addiction treatment settings, this article outlines a practical approach to relapse prevention in the primary care setting. Working within a supportive patient-physician relationship, the primary care physician can help recovering patients decrease their susceptibility to relapse, recognize and manage high-risk situations, and use available self-help, pharmacological, and specialty resources. Drawing on the therapeutic relationship and skills they already possess, primary care physicians can have an important, productive, and satisfying role in the long-term management of patients in recovery from alcohol or other drug problems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control*
  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Family Practice*
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy