Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month: Importance of recovery-oriented care and social systems - Sovereign Health Group
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established a working definition of recovery from mental health and substance use disorders (MH/SUD) as a “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery can be facilitated by making sure that all populations receive scientifically-backed medical treatment and recovery support services. By espousing recovery-oriented care, behavioral health systems are bringing about a remarkable change in fueling optimism among people who suffer from either of the conditions or both.

Recovery-oriented care has gained wide acceptance across U.S. states and among communities, health care providers, peer groups, families and researchers. Its significance has also been recognized by various proponents, most notably the U.S. Surgeon General. According to SAMHSA, the recovery process is supported by four major parameters:

  • Health: Managing diseases or their symptoms and, for recovering individuals, making informed choices that support their physical and mental health.
  • Home: Availability of stable and safe housing.
  • Purpose: Involvement in meaningful daily pursuits such as domestic activities and creative endeavors, and earning an independent and sustainable livelihood.
  • Community: Relationships and social systems providing support, friendship, love and hope.

President Donald Trump has proclaimed September 2017 as the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. The proclamation states, “We stand with the millions of Americans in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, and reaffirm our commitment to support those who are struggling with addiction, and their families and loved ones.” Apart from this SAMHSA also sponsors the National Recovery Month every year and this year’s theme places special emphasis on strengthening families and communities since they are vital components of support during recovery.

Recovery characterized by resilience

The founding principle of recovery is hope – the conviction of prevailing over challenges and obstacles. An individual’s recovery depends on inner strength, ability to cope, available resources and deep-rooted principles. It is a holistic process taking into account components such as family, accommodation, employment, education, medical treatment for MH/SUD, primary health care, faith and spirituality, social systems and community participation.

Recovery is a highly personalized process which occurs via several pathways, such as medical treatment and medication, faith-based healing, support from family and peers, self-care and other approaches. During the process, individuals may also encounter various obstacles. Resilience, which is the ability to deal with hardship and adapt to change, develops over time. It equips individuals with the skills necessary to meet life’s challenges and be better prepared for future hardships. Optimism and hopefulness are vital for resilience and recovery.

Due to the highly individualized nature of recovery, there must be flexibility in recovery services and support to ensure that they are tailored to specific needs, age groups and cultures. For instance, what is suitable for adults in recovery may not be appropriate for youth, women or older adults. Family members are often the primary supporters of their loved one’s recovery – they undergo similar experiences of positivity and hardship as the recovering individual. Since they also face adversities and stigma, they must be better prepared to deal with any untoward incidents. Peers and friends are also instrumental in becoming pillars of strength for recovering individuals.

Seeking comprehensive recovery

Recovery support services assist individuals in seeking and navigating care-giving systems, removing barriers, staying involved in the course of change and living wholesome lives in self-chosen communities. The services should integrate and ensure coordination between a wide range of social, legal and other service providers to facilitate overall well-being. Recovery support services also encompass availability of evidence-based practices such as assisted employment, education and accommodation, assertive community treatment (ACT), illness management, and consumer-operated service programs (COSPs). Access to help services may be given before, during or after clinical treatment or to individuals who are not undergoing treatment but are looking for support services.

SAMHSA offers recovery support services to address specific populations, demographic groups and communities. The Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) is involved in reducing behavioral disparities among diverse racial and ethnic populations. SAMHSA also employs initiatives to evaluate the efficacy of peer recovery support services in specific populations, and to identify program models that are most suitable for recovering individuals. Some of these initiatives include the Statewide Peer Networks for Recovery and Resiliency, the Recovery Community Services Program and the Targeted Capacity Expansion-Peer-to-Peer program.

At the same time, it is important for individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders to seek treatment for both the conditions. The latest report by SAMHSA on dual diagnosis states that of the 8.2 million afflicted with both the disorders, less than half received treatment for either condition in the past year. Only 6.9 percent received treatment for both. Half of those with acute mental illness and SUD did not receive either type of treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment demands continued care from trained professionals who can personalize the recovery plan depending upon the patient’s needs and condition.

If you or a loved one is looking for dual diagnosis treatment in California, contact the Sovereign Health. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with a representative to know about our state-of-the-art residential treatment centers in California and other states.

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