What are the risk factors for relapse?

It is possible for a recovered patient to relapse. Studies show that approximately half of the patients display positive symptoms again (such as delusions, hallucinations, thought disorders etc.) again within 1-3 years of recovering.

There are many risk factors for relapse, with some of the more prominent ones being:

• Not taking medication as directed
A recent study in Hong Kong shows that about 80% of the patients experience relapse within a year of stopping medication.

• Substance Use Disorder
Abuse of drugs such as ketamine, cough medicine can also increase the chance of relapse.

• Stress
The patient’s lifestyle and how they handle stress is also associated with relapse.
It is important to understand that it is possible for a recovered patient to relapse. However it is crucial to remain hopeful as there are many ways to improve the situation and prevent relapse; moreover, information learned from a patient’s relapse can make it easier for future prevention.

It is difficult for clinicians to accurately estimate each patient’s chance of relapse due to the uniqueness of every individual, but it is very important for patient and family to be knowledgeable about the possibility of relapse, signs of early relapse and strategies of prevention. The sooner the symptoms of relapse are noticed, the sooner the patient can seek help and ensure a smoother recovery.

If you would like to learn more about relapse prevention, please click here.