Facilitators and barriers in dual recovery: a literature review of first-person perspectives

Ottar Ness (Associate Professor, based at Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Drammen, Norway)
Marit Borg (Professor, based at Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Drammen, Norway)
Larry Davidson (Professor, based at Program for Recovery and Community Health, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA and Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold, University College, Drammen, Norway)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Publication date: 12 August 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The co-occurrence of mental health and substance use problems is prevalent, and has been problematic both in terms of its complexity for the person and of the challenges it poses to health care practitioners. Recovery in co-occurring mental health and substance use problems is viewed as with multiple challenges embedded in it. As most of the existing literature on recovery tends to treat recovery in mental health and substance use problems separately, it is critical to assess the nature of our current understanding of what has been described as “complex” or “dual” recovery. The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss what persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems describe as facilitators and barriers in their recovery process as revealed in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The method used for this study was a small-scale review of the literature gleaned from a wider general view. Searches were conducted in CINAHL, Psych info, Medline, Embase, SweMed+, and NORART.

Findings

Three overarching themes were identified as facilitators of dual recovery: first, meaningful everyday life; second, focus on strengths and future orientation; and third, re-establishing a social life and supportive relationships. Two overarching themes were identified as barriers to dual recovery: first, lack of tailored help and second, complex systems and uncoordinated services.

Originality/value

The recovery literature mostly focuses on recovery in mental health and substance use problems separately, with less attention being paid in the first-person literature to what helps and what hinders dual recovery.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is a product stemming from the research project: “Equal Footing: Collaborative practices in mental health care and substance abuse services as multifaceted partnerships” for which Dr Marit Borg is the Project Director and Dr Ottar Ness is the Principal Researcher. This project is funded by the Research Council of Norway from 2012 to 2015. The authors acknowledge the support and assistance provided by various staff members of the Asker Municipality, and from user and family member organizations from mental health and substance abuse field in carrying out this research project. We especially acknowledge the Buskerud and Vestfold University Librarian Anne Stenhammer for helping with the literature searches.

Citation

Ness, O., Borg, M. and Davidson, L. (2014), "Facilitators and barriers in dual recovery: a literature review of first-person perspectives", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 107-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-02-2014-0007

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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