Relapse Prevention: What is the BUD Syndrome? Part 1


Relapse Prevention for substance abuse, drug addiction and alcoholism. An overwhelming majority of recovering addicts experience relapse when trying to live free from addiction. This series will help you learn how to prevent relapse as well as educate family members on what signs to look out for. We will start with the BUD syndrome.

What is a BUD?

BUD is an acronym for Build Up to Drink or Drug. It is a period of time in which someone in recovery experiences a growing and overwhelming desire to use chemicals. It does not start with the first drink in relapse, rather it precedes the use of chemicals by days and sometimes weeks. It is also referred to as a dry drunk.

Can you explain what a ‘Dry Drunk’ is?

Dry, means total abstinence from chemicals; Drunk, means a pathological condition that resulted during the past use of chemicals.

Dry-drunk suggests intoxication without the use of chemicals. It simply means that while in a BUD, we think and behave just as we did when we used chemicals. The word, intoxication, comes from a Greek word which means poison. So, a dry-drunk implies a state of mind and a mode of behavior poisonous to the well-being of the recovering addict.

How does someone “Build Up” to a BUD syndrome?

The term, Build Up, indicates we have been in the process of setting ourselves up for the use of chemicals. This is reflected through our attitudes, our emotional tensions and our behavioral patterns long before we consume any chemical.

A BUD is a condition far more serious than the highs and lows of day to day. Everyone has a bad day occasionally, and your sobriety and spiritual growth will have its ups and downs as you travel the road to recovery. Some days will be rewarding, while others will be filled with temptations and struggles. As long as we realize we should expect these variations, we should be able to handle them.

How do you recognize a BUD?

The BUD syndrome begins with our thought process. It affects our attitude, our ability to reason logically, and our perception of reality. Once the old feelings, attitudes and emotions begin to build, and we think and act as we did while using chemicals, it is only a matter of time before one actually drinks or drugs. The dry-drunk will become a wet-drunk and will have entered relapse.

The addict is usually unable to recognize when the BUD syndrome starts. Everyone around him/her can see the symptoms clearly as it is reflected in their mental attitude, their emotional stability and their behavior patterns. The addict may be completely oblivious to the reality of his dry-drunken state which is why we are raising awareness and educating subtance abusers and family members regarding the BUD syndrome.

We have also observed that those who allow the BUD to run its course will always return to the use of chemicals. The BUD is very dangerous. It is an experience every addict must learn to overcome if their sobriety is to continue. The remaining videos in this series will teach you and your family how to overcome the BUD.

2 Comments On “Relapse Prevention: What is the BUD Syndrome? Part 1”

  1. awesome to find this info when i googled “alcoholic BUDD syndrome” and then i notoced it was you! Awesome job!

  2. Please send me material. I have a facilty for sex trafficking survivors who are teetering society after being in jail

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