Misconceptions about Relapse

Subject: Psychology
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Consider misconceptions about relapse from one or more of these 3 perspectives:

In the past, did you hold misconceptions about relapse? Why did your perspective change (or is it still in the process of changing)?

Do you have friends, family members, or colleagues who hold misconceptions about relapse? Consider what you’d say or do to change their viewpoint.

Have you seen a TV series, movie, or book take an approach that reinforces misconceptions about relapse? If so, how would you change the story line to model a better approach?

For whichever of these perspectives you chose, did bias against marginalized groups influence (either consciously or unconsciously) someone’s viewpoint?

Write your response in a 1,000-1,200 word paper. I have attached the reading for this week, you can use it if needed  https://www.mindtools.com/a4wo118/smart-goals






Misconceptions about Relapse

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Misconceptions about Relapse

Relapse is when an individual stops the maintenance of their target to reduce the alcohol or other drug’ usage and returns to their previous state. When people begin the use of drugs, they require a plan to stop and improve their condition (Ma et al., 2019). However, when the condition improves, the patients may relapse when they stop the improvement plan and begin using drugs. A relapse can be caused by a situation that had caused the person to use drugs reoccurring. Personal challenges and physical health issues can also contribute to relapse. Financial hardship and social isolation are some of the personal challenges which can contribute to a person starting the use of drugs even after improvement. People hold many misconceptions about relapse, which place the blame on the individuals who were improving but suddenly changed. While growing, I had different beliefs concerning relapse. The paper explains my misconceptions about relapses and how they have changed.

My Past Misconceptions about Relapse and Why My Perspective Changed

In the past, I had various misconceptions about relapse, which affected how I viewed individuals on drug use. One of my misconceptions was that all addicts who abstain from alcohol and drugs for a while and then return to alcohol or drug use have experienced a relapse. I did not know the causes of relapse in humans. Therefore, I could connect every condition where a person who was improving after substance use and later began using drugs to relapse. My perspective on relapse changed after getting an education concerning the condition of people. I understood that different situations could cause an improving substance use individual to begin using drugs. The situations are different from relapse. For instance, a slip occurs when someone returns to substance use without noticing (Seyedfatemi & Saber, 2022). The situation differs from relapse because it is not intentional for the patients to begin using alcohol again. Likewise, the patients do not understand the triggers for alcohol in this situation.

The other misconception about the relapse was that it occurred because the patient dropped out of treatment. In the past, I believed that people relapse when they stop their treatment. Many patients are put on medications or behavioral therapy during rehabilitation for drug use to stop their substance use habit. Therefore, I had a misconception that once the patients returned to the relapse, it showed that they had stopped their medications. My perspective on treatment and relapse changed after noticing that some patients can relapse even while on drug use treatment. Many persons relapse within the first few weeks after treatment to avoid the symptoms associated with withdrawal from treatment (Ma et al., 2019). Since there might be some post-acute symptoms, some patients might begin substance use to counter the effects. However, the main cause of relapse is not the stoppage of treatment; other factors can contribute to relapse. For instance, a person may relapse during treatment because of other factors like trauma and societal discrimination.

The avoidance of relapse through self-discipline and willpower is a misconception I previously held. I thought people with self-discipline and willpower could conquer relapse and stop drug use. While self-discipline and willpower are imperative for a person to recover from relapse, they are not the only elements determining an individual’s condition during relapse. However, I came to understand that the statement was a misconception because of the difference in complexity of people’s addictions to drug use. Impaired decision-making is a problem that might occur, causing individuals to relapse. When a relapse caused by impaired decision-making occurs, controlling it using self-discipline and willpower is challenging (Ma et al., 2019). My perspective changed because I have interacted with substance-use people with self-discipline and willpower who cannot control their relapse. One of the individuals experiences stress and emotional trauma because of the loss of their loved ones in a disaster. As a result, they cannot control the relapse because of the external factors affecting their brain structure, causing them to relapse.

I also help a misconception in the past that relapse occurs in cases of alcohol and drug use. I believed that relapse was only associated with substance use. The statement is a misconception because relapses, like mental health and diet, can occur in other cases. For instance, some individuals might be on a certain diet and exercise to reduce their weight. However, they might relapse and gain weight, making them return to their previous state. I changed my perspective because I learned that any behavior which requires change can be associated with relapse. I believed relapse-prone patients are not motivated to recover from their problems. In the past, I thought that patients are had the problem of relapse could not be helped. My perspective is still changing because I have not seen patients who were in relapse recover from that condition despite the knowledge I have gained on the issue of relapse.

How Bias against Marginalized Groups Influence My Perspective on Relapse

Marginalized groups involve people at risk of discrimination because of their diverse personal characteristics. The bias against marginalized groups may occur when people hold certain beliefs and attitudes towards others because of their characteristics, leading to discrimination. In the past, I had a significant bias against marginalized groups, which influenced my perspective on relapse. One of the biases I had involved treatment access. I thought that marginalized groups do not consider treatment a priority because of the barriers they experience, like a lack of adequate financial resources. Therefore, the bias influenced my perspective that many low-income people did not get or complete their treatment plan. As a result, this caused relapse associated with stopping treatment.

In the past, I had a negative perspective concerning alcohol addicts. For instance, I used to think that most alcohol addicts were low-income people. My perspective of people from low socioeconomic status influenced how I viewed relapse. I thought relapse was all about drug and substance use because most people I encountered with this problem were poor. Other people are biased against some races. The bias can influence their perspective that some ethnic groups have relapse-prone patients and who cannot motivate others to improve their conditions. Education is essential when addressing the bias against marginalized groups (Dela Cruz et al., 2023). When people get education on relapse and other substance use, they understand how it occurs, reducing its connection to certain racial groups.


Individuals have misconceptions concerning relapse, which cannot be proven accurate. Some people believe that relapse occurs when an individual abstains from alcohol and drugs for some time and then begins to use the substances. While relapse might occur when people return to their previous state of alcohol or substance use, it is not accurate that all the instances of returning to substance use qualify for relapse. Some cases can be unintentional or caused by a lack of understanding of the triggers, which differs from relapse. The bias against marginalized groups can influence people’s beliefs about relapse because it affects how individuals view substance use cases among patients. Sometimes, people practicing bias against race can associate relapse with some cultures or ethnic groups.


Dela Cruz, G. A., Johnstone, S., Kim, H. S., & Castle, D. J. (2023). Review of third-wave therapies for substance use disorders in people of color and collectivist cultures: Current evidence and future directions. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors37(5), 681. https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000883

Ma, B., Mei, D., Wang, F., Liu, Y., & Zhou, W. (2019). Cognitive enhancers as a treatment for heroin relapse and addiction. Pharmacological research141, 378-383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.01.025

Seyedfatemi, N., & Saber, S. (2022). Social Factors Affecting Relapse of Severe Mental Illness: A Qualitative Analysis of Healthcare Team’s Perceptions. Journal of Contemporary Medical Sciences8(6). https://www.iasj.net/iasj/download/00d1eec9cb1b9a2f

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