ABSTRACT: Over the last two decades, relapse prevention has emerged as a major focus of the treatment of drug problems. Few studies have demonstrated any impact on generally high relapse rates. In this paper the outcome of a controlled trial of a relapse prevention programme with male problem drinkers (n = 60) attending an Alcohol Treatment Unit is reported. Subjects who met the inclusion criteria were allocated to a relapse prevention (n = 20) procedure or a discussion (n = 20) or no-additional treatment (n = 20) control procedure. Subjects were followed-up at 6 and 12 months by the first author. The relapse prevention programme was associated with significantly greater increases in pre- and post-treatment self-efficacy compared to the discussion control group and significantly greater probability of total abstinence than all controls over the first 6-month follow up. In addition, the relapse prevention programme was associated with significantly longer survival time to an initial lapse and relapse than the controls. At 12-month follow-up, treatment effects had been eroded. It was concluded that the relapse prevention programme was an effective treatment in the short term and that longer-term impact may require greater focus on maintenance factors, such as the individual's environment.
Addiction 02/1997; 92(1):61-73. · 4.31 Impact Factor