November 04, 2005

Recovery Model

Most people have heard of the 12-step recovery model for overcoming addiction or substance abuse problems. However, most people do not know that this type of program can also be applied to recovering from diseases of the brain. The recovery model places most of the decision making power in the hands of the patient instead of the physician and relies on support from a group of other individuals in various stages of treatment or recovery. This method gives the recovering individual more control over their treatment and helps them discover what system works for them by drawing from their own experiences and the experiences of others who are dealing with the same issues. In many places, there are recovery communities where people dealing with severe brain disorders can live together. With help from the staff and other patients, an individual can gain the skills they will need to live life on their own. In the words of Bruce Fountain, author of the article reviewed here, recovery is about “healing with attitude of humility and strength”.

The first step is accepting the disease, coming to terms with being different, and accepting that certain habits might have to go, while others are formed. The patient’s family and friends can be a crucial part of acceptance and the rest of recovery. A supportive base can give a patient the confidence to seek out a variety of resources to help them recover their quality of life. Society also influences the way diseases of the brain are perceived. Ideally, society would recognize the myriad ways a person with a brain disorder can become a contributing member, and help them to achieve their potential. To often, however, society reduces human beings to a label, “schizophrenic” or “bipolar” (or by race, gender, economic status, etc.). It is important to remember that a person is not defined by the disease they suffer from, it is merely an obstacle they have to deal with in their life.

Fountain, Bruce A. Recovery Works for Substance Abuse and Mental Illness. Redlands Daily Facts. Oct 25, 2005.

More on Recovery:

Mental Health Recovery
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
National Organizations

Related News Articles:
Keeping a Job With a Psychiatric Disability
Remission of Schizophrenia
Computer Buddies Help Recovery
Ways to Encourage Recovery


Some programs take steps out of A.A. and say that these steps will treat schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. The steps in Emotions Anonymous are similar to AA steps.
Schizophrenics Anonymous uses 6 steps.
I personally didn't get much benefit from working such steps...Robert

Posted by: Robert at November 6, 2005 02:02 PM

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