Last Updated: June 29, 2018

Definition - What does Relapse mean?

A relapse, within the context of drug testing, is the return to alcohol or drug abuse after having undergone rehabilitation through treatment programs and maintaining abstinence for a period of time. A person who has overcome their addiction to alcohol or drugs and deemed to be in remission is susceptible to making mistakes in difficult or stressful situations that leads to them resuming their alcohol or drug consumption.

WorkplaceTesting explains Relapse

When a person experiences a relapse, there are often warning indicators that can be observed prior to the event. They go through an initial stage of emotional relapse, followed by a mental relapse, and ending with the physical relapse, which is the act of alcohol or drug use. These stages can sometimes be displayed as abusive behavior, anxiety, depression, moodiness, personal neglect, and isolation. Relapse is a fairly common occurrence and does not mean that the person has failed to overcome the addiction in the long run. During rehabilitation efforts, the addict is provided with tools to understand, identify, and cope with triggers that may bring about a relapse.

This definition was written in the context of Drug Testing
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