A return to drinking or other drug use after a period, of abstinence, often accompanied by reinstatement of dependence symptoms. Some writers distinguish between relapse and lapse ("slip"), with the latter denoting an isolated occasion of alcohol or drug use.
• Relapse prevention:
A set of therapeutic procedures employed in case of alcohol or other drug problems to help individuals avoid or cope with lapses or relapses to uncontrolled substance use. The procedures may be used with treatment based on either moderation or abstinence, and in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches. Patients are taught coping strategies that can be used to avoid situations considered dangerous precipitants of relapse, and shown, through mental rehearsal and other techniques, how to minimize substance use once a slip has occurred.