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Recovery and Recovery Support


SAMHSA's working definition of recovery defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Recovery signals a dramatic shift in the expectation for positive outcomes for individuals who experience mental and substance use conditions or the co-occurring of the two.

On March 1, 2022, President Biden announced his administration’s strategy to address our nation’s mental health crisis as outlined in the 2022 Presidential Unity Agenda. To meet this goal, SAMHSA collaborated with federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners including peer specialists to develop the National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification.

Person 1

2 in 3 adults who ever had a mental health problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery.

Person 2

7 in 10 adults who ever had a substance use problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery.

Guiding Principles

50.2 million American adults considered themselves to be in recovery from their substance use and/or mental health problems.

Guiding Principles

Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. A person’s recovery is built on his or her strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent values. It is holistic, addresses the whole person and their community, and is supported by peers, friends, and family members.

The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. It may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, peer support, family support, self-care, and other approaches. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness and managing setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, resilience becomes a key component of recovery.

The Four Major Dimensions of Recovery

The Four Major Dimensions of Recovery

  • Health

    Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms - for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medication if one has an addiction problem- and for everyone in recovery making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being

  • Home

    Having a stable and safe place to live

  • Purpose

    Conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society

  • Community

    Having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope

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Recovery Newsroom

Get the latest announcements on the SAMHSA’s effort to address recovery support. Access the latest news, upcoming events, and more.

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Behavioral Health Topic Areas

Last Updated

Last Updated: 08/11/2023

Last Updated