Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE)
The abstinence violation effect (AVE) refers to the negative cognitive and affective responses that an individual experiences after the return to substance abuse after a period of abstinence. These responses, both physical and psychological, can be very difficult to deal with. Prolonged use of a substance causes a level or physical tolerance but after a period of abstinence that tolerance declines substantially. This is why many individuals who have been abstinent (or "clean") for awhile accidentally overdose by starting to use again at the same level of use they were at before their abstinence period. Equally bad can be the sense of failure and shame that a formerly "clean" individual can experience following a return to substance use.