A discourse about the institutional handling of the substance abuser's penchant to relapse (Relapse)

David H. Cook (Hills‐Cook Outcomes Consulting Company, Beverly Hills, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper is to present the first of two articles about substance abuse as a human disorder that defies resolution, with the primary care physician the intended audience.


The paper is about the phenomenon of relapse as an extension of the formation of the underlying addictive‐oriented thinking. Both relapse and acceptance are about the “why” of substance abuse and not the “what.”


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of US adults who were classified as having substance dependence or abuse in 2008 based on criteria specified in the DSM‐IV was 22.2 million. Subtract on a mutually exclusive basis the 1.2 million who participate in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the 1.7 million persons who are in some configuration of institutional therapy and this leaves 19.3 million persons as a potential pool of need.

Research limitations/implications

Focusing on the primary care physician is no more trivial than the two topics to be discussed.

Social implications

The potential pool of need in the USA is much larger than the 19.3 million persons on the strength of what is implied by the to‐be‐developed views of relapse and acceptance as the “why” of substance abuse, as a subset of addictive‐oriented thinking.


While the paper is in line with the World Health Organization's position that substance abuse is the most serious health problem globally, the advocated approach to the resolution of addiction is the efficiency of the relationship between the primary care physician and the patient.



Cook, D. (2010), "A discourse about the institutional handling of the substance abuser's penchant to relapse (Relapse)", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 30 No. 9/10, pp. 486-498. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443331011072253

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