Rapid relapse generally follows treatment for substance use disorders among adolescents

Jack R. Cornelius, Stephen A. Maisto, Nancy K. Pollock, Christopher S. Martin, Ihsan M. Salloum, Kevin G. Lynch, Duncan B. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


This prospective study involved 59 adolescents with drug and alcohol disorders who had just completed outpatient treatment. They participated in a comprehensive baseline assessment, and then participated in monthly telephone assessments of substance use and reasons for use. Despite their recent treatment, two-thirds (66%) of the participants in this study had relapsed to drug use within 6 months. The median time to drug relapse was only 54 days (±14 days), or slightly less than 2 months. The three most commonly given reasons for relapse were social pressure, withdrawal, and negative affect. These findings provide a first confirmation of the results of S.A. Brown [Recovery patterns in adolescent substance abuse. (1993). In J. S. Baer, G. A. Marlatt, & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Addictive behaviors across the life span (pp. 160-183). London: SAGE.] in showing that most adolescents relapse quickly following treatment for substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-386
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Relapse
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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