Summary and Analysis

This study was a review of earlier literature looking into recovery from addictions without formal treatment or other help, called ‘natural recovery’. Not surprisingly, the authors were unable to find much in the way of earlier studies of this phenomena. As they pointed out in the article, researching natural recovery from substance abuse is a relatively new area of study. They concluded that further studies of natural recovery should be done and suggested a number of factors future studies should take into account. While clearly the idea of recovering from addiction without any treatment or other intervention is unlikely to be workable for everyone, the fact that a surprising number of people do recover in this manner would indicate that studying this phenomena to understand it could be very beneficial.

Excerpted from National Institute of Health

The study is titled: Natural recovery from alcohol and drug problems: methodological review of the research with suggestions for future directions and published in

Aims: The methodology of studies that reported data on individuals who recovered from an alcohol or other drug problem (cigarette smokers were excluded) without formal help or treatment were reviewed.

Conclusions: Based on this review, future natural recovery studies should: (a) report respondents’ demographic characteristics at the time of their recovery; (b) describe respondents’ pre-recovery problem severity; (c) explore in some depth what factors, events or processes are associated with the self-change process; (d) provide corroboration of respondents’ self-reports; (e) examine factors related to the maintenance of recoveries; (f) conduct interviews with individuals who have naturally recovered from cocaine, marijuana and polydrug abuse; (g) include a second interview at a later time to examine stability of natural recoveries; and (h) require a minimum 5-year recovery time frame.