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Relapse is one of the biggest fears for most recovering addiction sufferers

Relapse is one of the biggest fears for most recovering addiction sufferers, and although while in rehabilitation clinics they are often taught techniques to help them prepare for, and prevent relapse, in the outside world, these are not always successful.  The lure of familiar places and people often mean that individuals find themselves back in environments they associated with their drug use, and these environmental cues can be very influential in people choosing to misuse drugs again after rehab. 

It has therefore been suggested that if individuals are able to control their responses to such cues, and change the way they view these environments, this could help reduce their cue-induced cravings for drugs. 

At present there are only behavioural techniques, and these still rely on individuals' self control and ability to utilise these techniques when needed.  However recent research has suggested that in the future, drug thrapies may be able to aid this process.  One study has found, using rats, that a certain medication may be able to affect the way individuals respond to drug related cues, and could potentially help reduce post-rehab drug cravings and hopefully relapse rates (Science Daily, 2012).  The medication, when used in conjunction with behavioural modification techniques, appears to work with a certain brain receptor, to fundamentally change how people respond to drug cues, thus reducing their subsequent impulse to use drugs when in certain environments.

This new method could have drastic effect on how people respond to drug related cues, and could have huge potential for reducing relapse rates post rehab, allowing people to get their lives back on track.


Science Daily.  (2012).  Overcoming Memories That Trigger Cocaine Relapse.  Sourced from:

Published by on 31/10/2020.

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