SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and/or Substance Use Disorders
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) recognizes there are many different pathways to recovery and each individual determines his or her own way. SAMHSA engaged in a dialogue with consumers, persons in recovery, family members, advocates, policy-makers, administrators, providers, and others to develop the following definition and guiding principles for recovery. The urgency of health reform compels SAMHSA to define recovery and to promote the availability, quality, and financing of vital services and supports that facilitate recovery for individuals. In addition, the integration mandate in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) provide legal requirements that are consistent with SAMHSA’s mission to promote a high-quality and satisfying life in the community for all Americans.
Recovery from Mental Disorders and/or Substance Use Disorders: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
- Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms—for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem—and for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Home: a stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society.
- Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative
We envision a future in which people with mental and substance use disorders pursue optimal health, happiness, recovery, and a full and satisfying life in the community via access to a range of effective services, supports, and resources.
Eight Dimensions of Wellness
A Holistic Guide to Physical and Mental Wellness
For people with behavioral health problems, wellness is not the absence of disease, illness, or stress, but the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness.
Wellness means overall well-being. It incorporates the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Each aspect of wellness can affect overall quality of life, so it is important to consider all aspects of health. This is especially important for people with mental and substance use disorders because wellness directly relates to the quality and longevity of your life.
That’s why SAMHSA encourages you to incorporate the Eight Dimensions of Wellness in your life:
Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep
Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
Spiritual: Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life
Mental Health America of North Dakota (MHAND) holds the grant for the implementation of the Wellness and Recovery program in North Dakota.