What Are The Statistics on Relapse?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

man looking at liquor drink

Here is an excerpt of a story that a woman shared about her recovery on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services website:

“As much as it pains me to admit, I let that foundation slip away and relapsed with nearly three years clean. Due to [the drug’s] availability and relatively low price, I used heroin this time, and jumped straight into using it intravenously…I was able to stop using after four days. It was incredibly discouraging having to change my clean date, but I didn’t give up.”

Compared to popular belief, relapse is a common component of recovery. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that approximately 90% of those with alcoholism are likely to experience at least 1 relapse over the course of a 4-year period following treatment; those who do not seek treatment are less likely to achieve a 3-year remission, thus having higher chances of relapse. However, relapse should be considered a normal part of recovery and should not be considered a sign of failure or weakness.

Whether you are in recovery for an addiction or mental illness, relapse can happen with either one and there are many reasons why a relapse may take place. Psychology Today states the following as triggers that could lead to relapse:

  • Not staying consistent with treatment
  • Ruminating on flaws, failures, past events, future worries, etc.
  • Not recognizing your own personal vulnerabilities such as events that are causing you additional stress or emotions that could cause you to spiral
  • Feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, or exhaustion
  • Over-confidence in one’s capabilities in recovery
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship ups and downs
  • Illness of any sort
  • Hearing exciting or devastating news

While these are only a few, relapse gives us a chance to learn. Perhaps you learn that something in your treatment program isn’t working for you and it needs to be altered, or maybe you get the realization that you need to seek treatment altogether. The American Psychological Association claims that identifying high-risk situations – a.k.a. moments that provide added pressure to engage in a harmful behavior that you previously engaged in – can help you in preventing relapse from happening. One preventative measure you can take is to pretend you are “riding the wave” of the urges you are experiencing.




Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. We offer a variety of treatment methods, and can help you develop tools towards preventing relapse. If you are ready to seek treatment, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation.

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