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.