A New Definition of “Recovery” to Build Awareness and Support

Posted on January 11th, 2012
Posted in Articles

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently came forward with a new definition for “recovery” when referring to overcoming mental and substance abuse disorders. This definition is a result of a year’s worth of effort by the organization and various partners and is integral with its Recovery Support Strategic Initiative.

This new definition for drug addiction treatment programs and recovery reads as follows: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

This definition, states a Medical News Today article, attempts to reflect essential commonalities along with significant guiding principles associated with recovery from a mental disorder or substance abuse disorder. It is hoped that by establishing a more comprehensive definition for recovery, both those who make policy and those who deliver care will be helped in designing more holistic and integrated services.

Along with helping guide policy makers and service providers, SAMHSA believes that the new definition could prove valuable in promoting heightened public awareness as well as building a positive reception for the value of recovery services. SAMHSA posted a definition in process on its blog site and opened up its Feedback Forums for comments. Responses were noted and were formative to the end result. In addition to 259 blog comments, over 1000 Forum participants and almost 500 ideas, SAMHSA received 1,200 comments, many of which were incorporated in the working definition now being released.

Along with this new working definition for recovery, SAMHSA outlined four key areas with the purpose of supporting a person’s recovery and several key principles which can guide recovery.

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