When Relapse Happens
A core principal of treatment of drug abuse is that relapse is a part of the chronic nature of this disease.
When relapses occur, the patient is not abandoned but rather every effort needs to made to bring the patient back under care, with repeat detoxification and renewed therapy to assist her/him in remaining sober and clean.
As the primary care provider (or any other non-addiction specialist), you should discuss the relapse openly with your patient. Though relapse can be disappointing, it can be an opportunity to learn. Encouraging the patient to re-engage in specialized addiction treatment whether through a formal clinic-based program or through less formal venues such as Alcoholics Anonymous (or Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc.), can be very helpful for re-educating patients and re-establishing a support network. Don’t let your patient go it alone.