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Recovery in Mental Illness

Assignment 1: Written Response to Question, Report Style

Due date: Week 4

Word Count: 1000 words

The goal of this assessment is to assess student knowledge and comprehension of the fundamental concepts and terms relating to mental health. For successful completion of this assessment, you are required to answer the question below addressing all areas.

What is ‘recovery’ in mental health?
To successfully respond to this question, you are required to discuss the origins of the notion in the mental health field that can be traced to three key influences:

  1. Self-help movements: regaining sobriety and restoring one’s life originated in the addiction field.
  2. The consumer or survivor movement: the human rights and challenging discrimination.
  3. Psychiatric rehabilitation: with its focus on restoring a functional life and community reintegration.

Report Writing


Mental illness can be termed as a disorder that affects the mood, behavior, and thinking capabilities of an individual. Hence, it can be defined as a disturbance in an individual’s cognition, behavior, and emotional regulation (Fox et al., 2018). There is a popular stereotype associated with mental illness that mentally ill people are incompetent. Fortunately, that is not true. 97% of the people with mental illness are not at all violent. Various researchers have studied the concepts in detail and tried to come up with various efficient recovery methods. The aim of this study is to demonstrate a clear understanding of mental illnesses and their recovery. While demonstrating the three key influences – self-help movements, consumer or survivor movement and psychiatric rehabilitation are to be taken into account.

What is the “recovery” in mental illness?

Recovery signifies different things when it comes to mental illness. “Recovery” might be a wrong choice of word to define improvement of an individual’s mental health condition as the term is relative (Slade et al., 2017). For some individuals, recovery might mean entirely getting rid of the symptoms while for others it might be gaining control over their symptoms and their life. The latter condition won’t necessarily signify that the individuals are completely recovered, instead, it would point out that the individuals are on their path to recovery.

Now that it has been established that recovery from illness is completely different from getting “Rid of” the illness, it is time to move on to the three key influences in recovery.

Self-help Movements: For individuals suffering from addiction

To begin with, self-help movements include movement programs promoting personal transformation, improvement in mental health conditions, and in some cases economic and cultural improvement. Hence, it can be regarded as a type of psychiatric analysis process that evolves an individual intellectually, emotionally as well as economically. In the addiction field, the role of self-help movements gets magnified. The majority often sees addiction disorder as a choice but in reality, it is a mental illness. Mental illness and substance use disorder (SUD) go hand in hand. Addiction has been defined as a brain disease by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and American Psychiatric Association (APA). This is mostly because addiction causes fundamental changes to the brain, for instance, intervening in the ways in which neurons send and receive signals within the brain. Some hard drugs such as Heroin, hallucinogens, and even marijuana instead activate the neurons in our brain by altering the chemical structure. The brain has been designed in such a way that it tends to remember the surge and remembers the substance as “addictive” (Heilig et al.., 2021). Hence, Substance use disorders and addictions must be termed as mental illnesses. Self-help groups are ideal for regaining sobriety and restoring an individual’s life previously involved in addiction. These self-help groups have undertaken special initiatives to increase the self-esteem of the patients. Gradually they reduce stigma and accelerate the rehabilitation process. Continuing with the self-help movements can improve the overall decision-making processes of the individuals and decrease the tendency to decompensate under moderate to extreme stress. Moreover, self-help movements are well-known for improving the social function of individuals without reducing psychiatric symptomatology. Thus, in this aspect, it must be mentioned that even though addiction can be cured, relapsing diseases such as asthma and chronic heart disease still remains the main problem (Parkman et al., 2015).

The consumer or survivor movement: For the individuals suffering through challenges against discrimination and basic human rights 

Basic human rights include rights to freedom from slavery and torture, rights to freedom of opinion, and rights to life and liberty. Everyone around the world is entitled to these basic human rights, going against what would be termed discrimination. People going through such traumatic experiences might lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), Adjustment Disorder, Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED), Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and many more. The consumer/survivor movement programs have been designed for those individuals who have suffered through the same. These groups are known for redeeming individuals from systemic oppression and marginalization. LGBTIQ people comprise the majority of their patients. They can support and empower the marginalized community, improve their mental health, and enhance their overall quality of life. The patients might feel liberated in their process but similar to what has been discussed earlier recovery might be a relative concept in this process (National Academies of Sciences, 2016).

Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Restoring a functional life and community reintegration

Psychiatric rehabilitation helps individuals having a persistent and serious mental illness. These processes have been designed to teach the patients the value of cognitive, emotional, and social skills. People who are slightly disabled and need constant assistance to get along with their lives need to visit psychiatric rehabilitation. One of the key principles of Psychiatric rehabilitation is that every person is different and everyone has a right to self-determination. Access to Psychiatric rehabilitation is not limited to individuals having serious chronic psychiatric conditions, the full-function individuals in a dire need of assistance and help can benefit from such institutions. For instance, individual and family counseling is a part of the psychiatric rehabilitation process. Psychiatric rehabilitation builds on resilience and mental toughness and helps in the development of social skills and stress management. It is a holistic approach designed to improve the psychological well-being of individuals. It cannot be conclusively said that psychological disorders can be treated but Psychiatric rehabilitation is definitely helpful in improving their lives (Tarvydas et al., 2017).


The aim of this study is to demonstrate a clear understanding of mental illnesses and their recovery. While demonstrating the three key influences – self-help movements, consumer or survivor movements and psychiatric rehabilitation have been taken into account. Recovery is a relative term and it might be a wrong choice of word to define improvement of an individual’s mental health condition. Based on the studies so far, it can be stated that while it cannot be conclusively said that psychological disorders or mental illnesses can be treated or can be recovered from, it definitely can be said that self-help movements, consumer movements, and Psychiatric rehabilitation are beneficial for improving their qualities of lives and placing individuals are on their path to recovery.


Slade, M., Oades, L., & Jarden, A. (Eds.). (2017). Wellbeing, recovery and mental health. Cambridge University Press.

Fox, A. B., Earnshaw, V. A., Taverna, E. C., & Vogt, D. (2018). Conceptualizing and measuring mental illness stigma: The mental illness stigma framework and critical review of measures. Stigma and health, 3(4), 348.

Parkman, T. J., Lloyd, C., & Splisbury, K. (2015). Self-help groups for alcohol dependency: A scoping review. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 10(2), 102-124.

Heilig, M., MacKillop, J., Martinez, D., Rehm, J., Leggio, L., & Vanderschuren, L. J. (2021). Addiction as a brain disease revised: why it still matters, and the need for consilience. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(10), 1715-1723.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Ending discrimination against people with mental and substance use disorders: The evidence for stigma change. National Academies Press.

Tarvydas, V. M., & Hartley, M. T. (Eds.). (2017). The professional practice of rehabilitation counseling. Springer Publishing Company.

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