Relapse and Recurrence

There is no cure for depression, thus there is always a concern among patients and their family members that there may be a recurrence of depression and/or a relapse if substance abuse is also an issue. It’s a viable concern, and it’s one that is often the focus of treatment.

Dual Diagnosis rehab can provide patients with all the resources they need to fight against relapse in recovery, offering them stabilization, intensive treatment, and aftercare support to sustain them for the long term.


Depending upon the type of depression diagnosed in the patient and the severity of symptoms experienced, medication may be helpful in aiding initial stabilization during treatment and assisting them in avoiding a recurrent depressive episode and/or relapse if substance abuse is an issue. Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, allowing hundreds of thousands of Americans to better manage depression symptoms and avoid a full-blown depression episode.

However, it is important to note that there is no pharmacological cure for depression. Simply securing a prescription for an antidepressant will not fix the problem. Rather, many patients will try numerous different drugs, doses, or combinations of meds before finding one that helps them to manage their symptoms. Over time, these dosages may need to be adjusted if the medication no longer serves its purpose or if side effects become an issue.

Psychotherapeutic Intervention

An in-depth treatment program designed to equip patients with everything they need to manage symptoms is recommended, and that means including a range of psychosocial treatment options. These can include any combination of the following:

  • Personal therapy: Provides a private forum for addressing stressors, challenges and obstacles
  • Support groups: Offers a safe forum for interacting positively with others
  • Interpersonal therapy: Assists patients in learning how to better interact with others
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Enables the patient to troubleshoot the behaviors and patterns of thought that may be inhibiting the ability to function and altering them as necessary

Medication and Psychotherapy: Both Play a Part in Fighting Relapse in Recovery

A study published in JAMA: Psychiatry explored the use of fluoxetine (e.g., Prozac) in patients and its ability to aid in the prevention of relapse as compared to cognitive therapy alone. More than 500 participants who struggled with recurrent depressive episodes were included in the study; it was found that the use of both the medication and cognitive therapy were helpful in aiding patients in avoiding relapse. Additionally, rates of relapse were similar among patients whether they were in the group taking the medication or the group attending Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions.


Just as important as the initial phase of treatment, the follow-up care provided to patients as they leave the treatment program can help them begin the process of transitioning into their new lives in recovery and increase their level of independence. Medication, psychosocial treatments, alternative and holistic care – all these may continue on an outpatient basis with less intensity than during residential treatment. Over time, patients may choose to taper off certain therapeutic support, but this should only be done with the assistance of mental health professionals in order to ensure that the patient is indeed stable in recovery and able to withstand any issue that may trigger a recurrence of depression.

Jumpstart Recovery: Dual Diagnosis Rehab

Contact us at the phone number listed above to find out more about the evidence-based Dual Diagnosis rehabilitation services that are best suited to your loved one. We’re here to help today.

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