Precipitants of substance abuse relapse in Ghana: A qualitative exploration

Richard Appiah*, Samuel A. Danquah, Kingsley Nyarko, Angela L. Ofori-Atta, Lydia Aziato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Relapse to substance abuse is a global problem and is conceptualized as an integral component of the recovery process. Global statistics on rates of relapse after substance abuse treatment are disturbingly high, averaging about 75% within a 3- to 6-month duration after treatment. This study sought to gain full understanding of the factors that precipitate relapse among substance abusers in Ghana. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 15 relapsed substance abusers who were previously treated for substance abuse, and three mental health professionals at a psychiatric rehabilitation unit in Ghana. Findings showed that seven factors, including positive/negative emotional reinforcements, sense of loss, interpersonal conflicts, peer influence, familial, religio-cultural, and treatment-based issues complot to instigate and maintain the relapse cycle. The findings provide valuable insights into the relapse phenomenon in Ghana. Clinicians should actively engage family members in the relapse prevention process, and provide insight into religio-cultural relapse precipitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-115
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number1
Early online date16 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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