New Discoveries in Relapse Prevention

student and whiteboard

Anyone who has worked through recovery understands how frightening the idea of relapse can be.

The disease of addiction is always lurking, in a way, and those who struggled with drug or alcohol addiction understand that even after completion of rehab, relapse can be a problem. A stabilization program can help with relapse prevention, and new studies are yielding promising results about the future of relapse prevention.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention

  Addiction rewires a person’s neural pathways and reward systems to increase their desire for drugs, alcohol, and any other substances of abuse. Even after completing medically monitored detox in Stuart many people still crave the drugs and alcohol they were abusing. Issues like post-acute withdrawal syndrome may result in a person craving drugs or alcohol long after getting sober, and social pressures can also lead to relapse.

Some people view relapse as a part of the recovery process, but preventing relapse is possible. New discoveries are helping to improve relapse prevention programs and techniques.

The New Science Behind Relapse Prevention

  In a recently published study, scientists worked to control brain cells in the nucleus accu mbens. They discovered that by controlling the cells in this brain region, “like a light switch,” they were able to control relapse behaviors. Using specific medications, they were able to control key receptors in the brains of addicted rats so the rats would no longer use the substances they were addicted to. 1

So, what does this mean for humans? It’s a promising study that shows potential for treating the brain mechanisms behind addiction and relapse with medications, but more studies will be needed before these results progress to human trials or medications for human patients. Researchers are envisioning a future where they develop a pill that decreases relapse likelihood, but this is only their hope and research on the chemical processes behind relapse prevention is only in its beginning stages.

Additionally, treating brain regions that may be responsible for relapse is only one piece of the puzzle of lasting sobriety. There are many learned behaviors that influence relapse and successful treatment must address every aspect of the disease of addiction.

A medication to prevent relapse may be the goal, but it is not the only tool in preventing relapse and treating other aspects of addiction. Full treatment and therapy are necessary to help people break the cycles of addiction.

If you are struggling with addiction or temptations of relapse, our team at Banyan Detox Stuart can help you on the path of recovery. Call 888-280-4763 to get the help you need for long-lasting sobriety.


  1. UW Medicine – Researchers find clue to preventing addiction relapse

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.