Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Recovery-Oriented Approach Requires a Shift in Thinking. (Consider the Whole Person)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Recovery-Oriented Approach Requires a Shift in Thinking. (Consider the Whole Person)

Article excerpt

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- Mental health recovery means more than simply having fewer symptoms or shorter hospital stays, Dr. Ron Diamond said at a meeting on mental health sponsored by the University of Virginia.

"Recovery is about being part of the real world," he said. It means being able to better care for and support yourself.

As a psychiatrist, using a recovery-oriented approach in treating mental illness means shifting your perspective to consider the whole person. Mental illness doesn't disappear as a person recovers, but it does become only one part of who a person is, he said.

The psychiatrist and patient need to understand that recovery is not the same as being cured because patients can be recovering and still have symptoms. It's also helpful to keep in mind that recovery is not a linear process. A person doesn't just steadily keep getting better; there are ups and downs, said Dr. Diamond of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The meaning of recovery can differ, depending on the context, he said. Clinically, recovery is the absence of symptoms. In a social sense, it means having work and friends, and being able to function in a broader world. Economic recovery is being able to find and keep a job and to support oneself. Personal recovery means that you have a sense of being a person apart from mental illness. These different elements don't always correlate well, though. Patients may be able to hold down a job but still hear voices.

To add to the complicated process of recovery, patients also have to cope with the stigma attached to mental illness. …

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