What is the practitioner's role if patients lead their own drug and alcohol recovery?

Posted in: Alcohol, Drugs by John Richmond on 16 May 2013
Tagged with: Delphi Medical

Part nine of our series discussing service concerns about drug and alcohol recovery focuses on the implications of a patient-centric approach.

Recovery models recognise that many people succeed in their rehabilitation without accessing specialist treatment or formal support services. There exists a fear, then, within recovery services that by encouraging people to participate so fully in their own rehabilitation - to the extent that they are leading decisions about their own treatment - we are cutting ourselves, the medical professionals, out of the recovery process.

Does recovery devalue the role of the practitioner? Our recovery-oriented response considers the validity of this concern:

Drug and alcohol addiction is a disorder like any other
While much of the work for recovery support services still belongs to advocating the basic need for recovery, it is increasingly accepted that dependency and substance misuse are genuine health concerns. It follows that specialist professionals working within substance misuse should be regarded in much the same way that we acknowledge specialists working in cardiac or diabetic care, for instance. Their expertise offers a framework for patient-led recovery, in addition to the integral support necessary in positioning patients for success.

Being patient-led comes from the practitioner
Historically, some aspects of specialist services have created barriers to recovery which have devalued and undermined the role of professional care or intervention. Empowering an individual to make decisions about their treatment, and allowing them to be responsible for self-care, is an excellent working example of the vital role practitioners play.

Rather than viewing this as a departure from the process of recovery, this should be understood as an important support mechanism for drug and alcohol recovery.

Patients both seek and deserve expertise
From assessment and diagnosis, to education about the costs and benefits of interventions available, recovery services and the individual practitioners who comprise them offer highly-specialised advice which can be key in true recovery, as well as providing interventions sought by the patient.


This series refers to 'A practical Guide to Recovery Orientated Practice' by Davidson et al, published by Oxford University Press 2009.

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Does #recovery devalue the role of the practitioner? We look at risk in recovery models by @DelphiMedical on 16/05/2013 12:45:36