Abstract We examined the relationship between relapse risk/duration of abstinence and hippocampal volume as well as the moderating role of various psychological factors in 34 patients who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence according to ICD-10 and DSM-IV and 16 healthy controls (9 females and 7 males). This study is part of a single-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group treatment trial with the anticraving substance acamprosate administered for 3 months. Patients underwent a psychometric evaluation and a measurement of the hippocampus with magnetic resonance imaging before beginning medication (T0). At 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatment, abstinence was evaluated by phone. Afterwards all patients switched to a long-term open label study with acamprosate. Hippocampal volume did not constitute a predictive factor for relapse probability in abstinent alcoholics. Furthermore, stress level, depressivity, gender, and treatment with the anticraving substance acamprosate did not show a significant correlation with relapse probability. The current investigation could not identify significant risk factors for relapses after successful alcohol withdrawal. Further studies are required to identify crucial factors which are responsible for successful or unsuccessful relapse prevention.