Recovery and Remission

My stance is that you must decide for yourself with your own psychiatrist how you feel about where you are in your life.

Refrain from letting a so-called expert who hasn’t met you dare presume to diagnose a person from afar.

In this regard I’ve always taken E. Fuller Torrey, MD to task. This author of Surviving Schizophrenia claims a person who has a job or a spouse hasn’t recovered.

In his eyes you haven’t recovered unless you don’t need medication. I fear he is using the term recovery interchangeably with remission.

In his book he lists the statistics for what percentage of people recover. This is where E. Fuller Torrey claims a person hasn’t recovered even when they have a job or a spouse.

The fact is you can be in recovery and still have symptoms. People who have symptoms can hold a job or be married.

Does this mean you haven’t recovered simply because you still take medication?

I beg to differ for one strong reason: a significant number of people go without treatment before they get help.

We should not discourage such a person from making recovery a life goal worth shooting for. Even if they cannot get to being in remission.

I’ll end here by reiterating that you have the right to set goals with your psychiatrist and other treatment team members.

Only you and the mental health staff that you employ to serve you should be deciding whether you’ve recovered or not.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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