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First-person experiences of recovery in co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions

Eva Brekke (Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Concurrent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway) (Faculty of Health Sciences, University College of Southeast Norway, Drammen, Norway)
Lars Lien (Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Concurrent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway) (Innlandet University College, Elverum, Norway)
Larry Davidson (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Stian Biong (Faculty of Health Sciences, University College of Southeast Norway, Drammen, Norway)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 20 February 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore and describe experiences of recovery among people with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions (co-occurring conditions) in a rural community in Norway.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth individual interviews with eight persons with co-occurring conditions were conducted, audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using a phenomenological approach. This study is part of a research project investigating recovery orientation of services in a Norwegian district.

Findings

The analysis yielded four dimensions of recovery: feeling useful and accepted; coming to love oneself; mastering life; and emerging as a person. Insecure and inadequate housing and limited solutions to financial problems were described as major obstacles to recovery.

Research limitations/implications

Further research into the facilitation of recovery as defined by persons with concurrent disorders is needed, particularly regarding the facilitation of community participation.

Practical implications

This study supports an increased focus on societal and community factors in promoting recovery for persons with co-occurring conditions, as well as service designs that allow for an integration of social services and health care, and for collaboration among services.

Social implications

The results suggest that the community can aid recovery by accepting persons with co-occurring conditions as fellow citizens and welcoming their contributions.

Originality/value

The paper provides an enhanced understanding of how persons with co-occurring conditions may experience recovery.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest: on behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Citation

Brekke, E., Lien, L., Davidson, L. and Biong, S. (2017), "First-person experiences of recovery in co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 13-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-07-2016-0015

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited