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The problem statement for this literature review is this: post-treatment relapse rates for substance abusers are very high. The purpose of this literature review is to examine some of the factors determinative of relapse in post-treatment substance abusers, along with—in turn—factors predictive of relapse; also surveyed are important findings about the rates at which relapse occurs in the months and years after treatment. This is of significance to Nurse Practitioners because it will inform their work to improve treatment outcomes by decreasing the probability of relapse, both via work with addicted patients as well as by initiating or improving treatment programs where they practice. The value in reducing relapse rates and thus improving treatment outcomes, i.e. the justification for this work, is assumed to be self-evident.
1. Relapse – occurrence and cycles
Understanding the nature of relapse, and not just that it occurs, is vital to mitigating the probability of relapse and reducing the time taken to return to treatment from relapse. This requires understanding the ‘arc’ of relapse, i.e. when (relative to treatment) and why it tends to happen, how it progresses, and when and why patients either...
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