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What is the difference between a slip and relapse?

A slip is when a patient uses alcohol or drugs after treatment and relapse is when a patient uses a significant amount for a significant time.  Slips often lead to relapse.  Depending on what type of treatment a patient utilizes will depend on the chance that a slip will then transform into relapse.  If a patient is taught that a slip is horrible and if you slip then you have to start all over again they are more likely to go all out in slip and turn it into a relapse since they would have to start all over anyway.

When a slip occurs, your health care professional should be supportive and not judgmental.  It is important for all health care professionals not to look at slips as a disaster.  Instead, they should work with you in reviewing your after care plan and what you could have done differently to avoid the slip.  If need be, it would be important for the health care professional to change the aftercare plan looking at stresses and triggers that may have caused the slip.


  1. A family memebr suddenly began exhibiting a behavior pattern from long ago. I was not a memebr of the family during her previous drug use/abuse time, and therefore noticed her sudden changes in attitude, cleanliness, and temper. She has two small children, and has essentially abandoned them to their father, in favor of her new friends and local tavern style hangout. I came to this website hoping to find some type of identifiers that might help us in attempting to understand what is happening in this family memebrs life. Could someone please supply us with some of the more likely to be noticed’ character changes? Here are a a few of the changes that we have noticed during the last eight (8) months::1) Sudden lack of concern for hygiene, or house cleaning. 2) Sudden inability to tolerate her own children for more than a short span of moments. 3) Unending collection of various live animals that she is unable or unwilling to care for. 4) Inability to make up her mind, or stay in conversation for very long. 5) Sharp and negative comments of the emotionally battering type. 6) Loss of concern for safety, dignity, or self respect.7) The lack of common sense, it appears as a void in her sense of reality, demanding, and expecting things that are not logical, and at times, not even achievable.At this time, the children’s father has physical custody of the children, and is caring for them. I assist with the house cleaning and cooking and laundry. We are handling this part of the divorce well, but are deeply concerned for her welfare, and the safety of the children when they are with her.

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