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Psychiatr Serv. 2002 Oct;53(10):1272-84.

Illness management and recovery: a review of the research.

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Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School and the New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Concord, New Hampshire 03301, USA.


Illness management is a broad set of strategies designed to help individuals with serious mental illness collaborate with professionals, reduce their susceptibility to the illness, and cope effectively with their symptoms. Recovery occurs when people with mental illness discover, or rediscover, their strengths and abilities for pursuing personal goals and develop a sense of identity that allows them to grow beyond their mental illness. The authors discuss the concept of recovery from psychiatric disorders and then review research on professional-based programs for helping people manage their mental illness. Research on illness management for persons with severe mental illness, including 40 randomized controlled studies, indicates that psychoeducation improves people's knowledge of mental illness; that behavioral tailoring helps people take medication as prescribed; that relapse prevention programs reduce symptom relapses and rehospitalizations; and that coping skills training using cognitive-behavioral techniques reduces the severity and distress of persistent symptoms. The authors discuss the implementation and dissemination of illness management programs from the perspectives of mental health administrators, program directors, people with a psychiatric illness, and family members.

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