Natural Remission and Relapse

The study that this summarizes seeks to expand understanding of natural remission and relapse. They found that natural recovery (sometimes called spontaneous recovery) is common. People who received help, either through professional treatment or a mutual aid group, were more likely to achieve remission status and were less likely to relapse. The people who remitted without help tended to drink less, had fewer current drinking problems and negative life events and relied less on avoidance coping and drinking to reduce tension. It’s also worth noting that the study was not limited to people with alcoholism or dependence. Participants only had to meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder, so they could meet criteria for abuse or dependence. This is important because you would expect much higher rates of remission and much lower rates of help seeking among people who are “abusers.”