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Is There a Difference Between “Recovery From” and “Being In Recovery”?

Recovery can be a difficult idea to understand, so let’s clear up a minor, but important point. When I refer to Recovery, Social Recovery, and Mental Health Recovery, I am referring to the same concept.

Recovery is about living a functional and full life. In my last post, I defined and explained the bio-psycho-social formulation. I explained the treatment that most people are lacking, and that no one is talking about, are the social treatments. When I do hear people speaking about recovery, I commonly hear it stated as “recovered from” this or that disorder.

Can I be Recovered from Mental Disorders?

Yes and no. Remember, there is no cure for any mental illness. I conceptualize this in the recovery model like this: there is no “cure” for the ups and downs of life. For example, saying that you are “recovered from depression” is inaccurate because we know that if there has been one episode, there is a high probability that there will be future episodes. This example is true for all mental disorders ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia. Yes, there are periods of time of improvement, but very commonly there may be ongoing problematic symptoms. Therefore there is no “recovery from” illness. But, you can be living “in recovery.”

“Being in recovery” adds another level to the recovery process and better captures its active nature. It takes you out of passive treatment and into active management and into healing.

After all, this is your life and your recovery; you need to take an active part in it despite any ongoing psychiatric symptoms. That is definitely possible for everyone!

Being “In Recovery”

Saying “in recovery” may be a small change in your wording, but it can make a powerful difference in your mind and in the minds of others when discussing recovery. Use it when thinking about your recovery and say it when talking about your recovery with friends, family, and mental health providers.

So, let us be In Recovery!

To your Mental Health!

Paul Rashid MD

Let us engage in pro-mental health practices every day. Remember, just as any neglected garden will perish and become overgrown with weeds, we must remember to water our minds and weed out the harmful behaviors and thoughts every day.


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