The Experience of Recovery from Schizophrenia: Towards an Empirically Validated Stage Model

School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, City of Greater Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.41). 11/2003; 37(5):586-94. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2003.01234.x
Source: PubMed


The consumer movement is advocating that rehabilitation services become recovery-orientated. The objectives of this study are to gain a better understanding of the concept of recovery by: (i) identifying a definition of recovery that reflects consumer accounts; and (ii) developing a conceptual model of recovery to guide research, training and inform clinical practice.
A review was conducted of published experiential accounts of recovery by people with schizophrenia or other serious mental illness, consumer articles on the concept of recovery, and qualitative research and theoretical literature on recovery. Meanings of recovery used by consumers were sought to identify a definition of recovery. Common themes identified in this literature were used to construct a conceptual model reflecting the personal experiences of consumers.
The definition of recovery used by consumers was identified as psychological recovery from the consequences of the illness. Four key processes of recovery were identified: (i) finding hope; (ii) re-establishment of identity; (iii) finding meaning in life; and (iv) taking responsibility for recovery. Five stages were identified: (i) moratorium; (ii) awareness; (iii) preparation; (iv) rebuilding; and (v) growth.
A five-stage model compatible with psychological recovery is proposed, which offers a way forward for attaining recovery-orientated outcomes. After further empirical investigation, a version of this model could be utilized in quantitative research, clinical training and consumer education.

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    • "Influential within current mental health policy in a number of countries (Ostrow and Adams, 2012; Ramon et al., 2007), the consumer movement in mental health has strongly advocated a shift away from a sole focus on symptom amelioration to consider the broader personal context of an individual's mental health problems and their subjective impact (Bellack, 2006). In analyses of consumer accounts of their own recovery, the role of identity in relation to illness, in particular overcoming a view of self dominated by negative stereotypes, has repeatedly been highlighted as central (Andresen et al., 2003; Davidson and Strauss, 1992; Leamy et al., 2011). "
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    Internet Interventions 02/2015; 15. DOI:10.1016/j.invent.2015.01.003
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    • "government policy (for example, Mental Health Commission 1998, Department of Health 2001, President's New Freedom Commission 2003), mental health services are adopting recovery-oriented services, tools and protocols (for example, Corrigan et al. 1999, Repper and Perkins 2003, Andresen et al. 2003) whilst, simultaneously, public health approaches increasingly recognise societal and community influences on health such as community-level cohesion, resilience and adaptation (Elliott et al. 2013). "
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    • "Moreover, our current NHS mental health services are still based upon the foundations of the medical model and our NHS National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE 2014) guidelines outline the importance of diagnosis and prescribing psychiatric medication as the primary treatment method for mental health difficulties with psychological and social therapies as an addition. The dominant medical approach has brought increasing concerns from service users and staff alike for not meeting the recovery needs of service users (Andreasen et al. 2003; Chadwick 1997; Pitt et al. 2007). More recent research into the recovery needs outline the recovery is not just about the alleviation of symptoms but an array of psychosocial factors such as rebuilding self and rebuilding life (Pitt et al. 2007). "
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