Treatment and recovery as perceived by patients with substance addiction

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Feb;17(1):46-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01477.x.


Social relations to therapists and other patients in treatment are important for positive and negative experiences among patients with substance addiction. * Improvements in mental health and substance use were considered as the more important areas of recovery among these patients. * One of the core reasons for premature dropout could be a failure to establish positive social relations and temptations to relapse to substance use. Abstract Research concerning patients with substance addiction and how they perceive their treatment remains scant. The objective of this study was therefore to examine positive and negative perceptions of treatment and recovery from the perspectives of these patients. Data were collected with semi-structured interviews among seven patients who completed treatment and six patients who prematurely dropped out from their programme (n= 13). Patients were strategically sampled from five inpatient facilities and one outpatient opioid maintenance treatment clinic located in two Norwegian counties. All interviews were transcribed and thereafter analysed with contextual content analysis aided by the qsr nvivo 8.0 software. This was carried out to obtain information about the manifest positive and negative content in the interviews. The results showed that the therapeutic alliance and mutual influences among patients were important for perceptions of treatment. Frequent staff turnover also related to these perceptions. The more important domains of recovery were psychosocial functioning and substance use. The implications of the results were discussed in relation to clinical practice and further research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / nursing*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Clinical Nursing Research*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / nursing*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Patient Dropouts / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Social Adjustment
  • Substance-Related Disorders / nursing*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Therapeutic Community
  • Young Adult


  • Illicit Drugs