Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Recovery Means

In my first post, I made reference to the idea of mental health recovery, which is a unique movement among mental health practitioners that I would like to explore. The term recovery is perhaps a bit misleading in regards to mental healthcare, for some of the more frequently seen definitions of recovery include:

1) The regaining of or possibility of regaining something lost or taken away
2) Restoration or return to health from sickness
3) Restoration or return to any former and better state or condition
4) The regaining of substance in usable form, as from refuse material or waste products

Such definitions are problematic. In mental healthcare, nothing is truly taken away or lost, there is simply a change in condition. Restoration from a sickness is associated with being cured, or with the absence of said sickness; when mental ailments are concerned, however, the truth is in some situations there will never be a total absence of symptoms. Restoration to a better state is entirely too ambiguous, and regaining substance in usable form is entirely irrelevant. So what does recovery mean in the terms of mental health?

Recovery, as leading expert Pricilla Ridgeway defines it, is an ongoing process of self directed healing and transformation. The Mental Health Center of Denver, a leading research facility, and one of the largest community-based mental health treatment facilities in the nation, further expands upon the definition by stating it is a non-linear process of transformation involving one’s fulfillment in hope, growth, social network satisfaction, symptom interference, and a feeling of personal safety.

Recovery, in terms of mental healthcare, does not mean an absence of all symptoms. Such a situation is often not a reality. But it means continuing to live a rich and fulfilling life regardless of, not in spite of, one’s condition.

The recovery movement seems to be spreading across the world rather persistently. In the U.S., several research facilities have taken on such an approach and are obtaining some rather remarkable results.

If you are a practitioner who has recently begun working in a research-oriented facility, please comment about what you feel the difference in cultures is and whether this new recovery-based approach or the traditional method of treatment is more effective.

Likewise if you are a mental healthcare consumer, please share your opinions on the differences between different oriented facilities! Your opinions are incredibly important, for they will let readers determine which type of facility would best suit their needs so please share with us.

I will do some more research on this recovery approach and let you know what I find!

Until next time, stay healthy, stay happy.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there Lex,
    Thanks for your visit the other day.

    "The term recovery is perhaps a bit misleading in regards to mental health care."

    "Recovery in terms of mental health care does not means an absence from all symptoms. Such a situation is often not a reality. But it means continuing to live a rich and fulfilling life regardless of not in spite of, one's condition

    One part of me says that is very generous definition but another says it is self deception.

    I appreciate your asking me for some input on recovery but I am really not a good person to ask. I am one of those who got to a place where mental illness symptoms were completely gone. Over ten years now. T

    My goal post for recovery is biased from my personal experience. I have also heard from others who have had similar issues like mine and who are also completely recovered from them.

    It is true that realistically some people will probably never be free of their unwanted symptoms and if so then the effects of the symptoms will in all likelihood forever limit was is possible when it comes to experiencing the rich and rewarding life part.

    Despite my misgivings on the recovery definitions I think you are doing great work and much needed work that will be appreciated by many.