"Recovery" is such a vague term

" Recovery " is such a vague term .One definition is

What does ‘recovery’ mean?

DR. MANSCHRECK: Researchers at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, including Robert Liberman and Alex Kopelowicz, proposed a definition of schizophrenia recovery that includes sustaining 4 benchmarks for a least 2 consecutive years:

working or going to school full- or part-time
living independently without the need for supervision
not depending entirely on disability insurance for financial support
sharing activities with friends on a regular basis.

Other define it more liberally as

Recovery does not necessarily mean ‘clinical
recovery’ (usually defined in terms of
symptoms and cure) - it does mean ‘social recovery’ – building a life beyond illness
without necessarily achieving the elimination of the symptoms of illness

" Social recovery" may seem a much lower benchmark but for many of us, without proper support for our full range of problems, it’s still a pipe dream.
It’s very difficult to be “socially recovered” for example if like me you have social interaction problems for which you have had minimal, indeed if any,help and support.


Man that is depressing. I thought I was close to recovery but by either system I am not recovered or close to it.

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yeah !!! its really a mysterious thing…!!!


I honestly don’t agree with this definition…

I had all those points, when I was psychotic: independence, social life, working


Hey @far_cry0! How’s it going?

You are busy these days, right?

Yeah I think one could meet these criteria without it being entirely appropriate to say one is recovered, and perhaps also the other way around. Thus I would think neither of the definitions pose sufficient, and perhaps not even necessary conditions to recovery. Part of the problem seems to me to be that science likes objective standards that can be measured. Very helpful for a lot of topics. But when it comes to mental health, I cannot but think this is not the whole story. Some subjective rather than objective aspects seem to me to play a role in wellbeing as well. Such that one may meet these criteria but still feel like ■■■■… not saying it should go all the way to one’s subjective experience, but it is an important, perhaps even essential aspect to mental health that seems often neglected.


Well put @flybottle

If we start treating mental health subjectively we don’t evolve, the practicle and objective side of recovery would be minimal symptoms, minimal side effects, maximum performance. Not division between the “real recovery” and “clinical recovery”

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I think there can be a fine line between a subjective " I’m doing ok/in recovery " and being in denial about how ill you are. Lots of very ill people might subjectively say they are ok/recovered when they are not.

It’s just being ‘objective’ is kinda cold and clinical. Would hate it if my psychiatrist was 100% objective. I mean he mostly is but I think the ‘art’ of good psychiatry comes from balancing the objective with the patients subjective observations.

@firemonkey that’s a very good point. Yet I do not think the standards should be set entirely subjectively, just that patient’s subjective experiences should be part of assessment of the level of recovery. This relates to what @minnii writes: assessment of symptoms and how one is affected by them is to be part of it - at least that’s how I think about it. It is remarkable that these do not show up in the definitions I think. But it is also understandable because assessing symptoms - which are subjective experiences - takes a bit of a different form than just checking the databases to see whether someone is employed/going to school/living indepently. Not impossible, not at all, there are all kinds of questionnaires such as PANS if I’m correct and EASE is another one. Just takes a bit more time to conduct these semi-qualitative assesments.

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You’re right. I didn’t think of symptoms as subjective experiences, but they are indeed.

And that should be taken into account, of course.

Since that discussion about how recovery is percieved in third world countries I’ve been thinking that the concept of recovery should be taking into account the unmedicated and untreated, some do recover, e.g @Hedgehog, of which symptoms are mainly religious in nature, yet she has a recovery oriented mindset, or @darksith too. If asymptomatic is considered as recovery, as I see it, then they are not recovered, they simply cope. If clinical recovery is taking into account the risks we take with medication and several different approaches in psychotherapy, than that should count as recovery as well. Not sure on how of which one we can identify the real recovery though :smile:

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For me if you reach a point where you are not in distress or a danger to self and others and are functioning ok occupationally and socially then perhaps you can be seen to be recovered/no longer mentally ill.

However it may be that that isn’t a fixed state, ie one can slip in and out of that position. How many of us have got better only to slip back?

I wonder how much those close to us, ie friends and family, should be included in assessments of recovery .

I’m good in social situations, I’m asymtpomatic in terms of psychosis, but not well in terms of ptsd, ocd and moods (at all), I’m not independent though, but will start working again now. So in fact, would you say I’m recovered? I don’t think so, nor do I think it’s that simple.

I think the idea that recovery is a goal is a fallacy, it’s more like a life-long path to overall wellbeing.

I think that makes more sense. With an acknowledgement that one may at times move forwards or backwards along the path, but hopefully it is more of a forward journey.
To be doing better than you were last week/month/year rather than to be “recovered”.

So would you say recovery is pretty much the practice of living life with (a past occurrence of) mental illness? Is it to be distinguished from ‘living a good life’ without mental illness at all? (which may also be said to be a life-long path to overall wellbeing.) Perhaps they blend into each other. I would like to think I would say someday I am not specifcally recovering anymore but more generally just living life and dealing with its problems… There need not be a clear mark of transition between them.

That’s an interesting thought. There is a difference between living with a mental illness, or several, and living without it. But, some people live a good, happy life with MI, others live miserably without MI. Those subjective experiences we talked about have a lot to contribute to this too.

There’s a subgroup of people inside the MI that thrive for fulfilled lives, other subgroup is the ones that can’t because their illness is too severe, and another is the ones that don’t thrive for anything because they simply don’t want to. In the case of the ones that do accomplish such goals, are we to say they are more recovered than the asymptomatic that don’t thrive for such goals? Isn’t this just a society rule, not really important for the fact that they are in fact asymptomatic?

I was so incapacitated after my episode, there is a huge gulf between then and now.

But I still have alogia and concrete thinking and those make it so I can’t be like I was before Sz.

I feel like I can never go back to my pre sz condition.

But I’m able to take classes and exercise frequently, so thats some level of recovery.

Still no friends, I have my alogia to thank for that. And my parents don’t trust me to drive which freakin sucks, they treat me like a child because they feel they have to regulate.

And my little brother has surpassed me in so many different ways, academically, socially intellectually, its embarrassing.

I don’t have access to my intellect anymore because of these damn negative/cognitive symptoms.

And some of the people on this forum never struggled with the same symptoms as me because we are all different.

Overall, recovery has happened for me after a year but I’m still dealing with serious residual symptoms which limit me. I’m pretty sure these symptoms will be permanent over the course of my illness/life.