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What’s Your Definition of Recovery Applied to Mental Health?

The concept of recovery for individuals with mental health conditions is different than what we understand to be the standard doctor’s definition.   The generic definition of recovery is ‘a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.’ Have we considered a form or recovery that involves more than taking a pill or wearing a cast?

For an individual suffering from a mental health disorder it is not necessarily that simple.  For some, recovery can be something that is a lifelong journey.   People in recovery have a condition, and for many of them it’s about knowing how to live their lives while managing their disorder successfully.  Wouldn’t you applaud a loved one or family member for their battles with Cancer or Diabetes? Mental health is an illness that affects 54 million Americans.

There is an alternative paradigm for treatment of mental health problems and disorders that embraces the notion of recovery and wellness.  Research and experience show that persons living with mental disorders and mental health problems can lead full lives and be contributing members of society.

Recovery is a deeply personal process and regaining overall wellness takes time.  The President’s New Freedom Commission Report defined recovery as, “the process in which people are able to live, work, learn and participate fully in their communities.  For some individuals, recovery is the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life despite a disability.  For others, recovery implies the reduction or complete remission of symptoms.”

It is extremely important to celebrate milestones and small successes along the way.   Individuals are reclaiming their lives and are getting the prevention and treatment they need while embracing a healthy long-term path.

Recovery isn’t finding a cure; it’s about getting something back that you once had. Getting back your life – and the pleasures that go along with it.

Many people have their own idea of what recovery means to them.  Do you have a definition of recovery you would like to share?  Please feel free to add your thoughts on this subject in the comments section.

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