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Mental Health Experts Define 'Recovery'

December 25, 2011, 10:45 AM

What's the Latest Development?

A year-long project has led to a new a definition of 'recovery' for those suffering from mental illness or addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced its new definition this week: "A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential." The new definition, which lands somewhere between thoughtful and pithy, is meant to help doctors and policymakers who oversee the fields of mental health and addiction.

What's the Big Idea?

Along with the new definition, researchers and other mental-health experts clarified four major dimensions that support a life in recovery: Health, home, purpose and community. 'Health' means "overcoming or managing one's disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way"; 'Home' is a stable and safe place to live; 'Purpose' means "meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society"; 'Community' means "relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope."

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