An exploration of the process of recovery from heroin dependence

Shaw, Elizabeth H.

Medicine; Psychology
June 2011

Thesis or dissertation

© 2011 Elizabeth H Shaw. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

There are several models which emphasise the importance of psychological and sociological processes in recovery from heroin dependence. However, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the definition of 'recovery'. This research portfolio explores the concept of recovery from heroin dependence and how different psycho-social factors, methadone maintenance and drug treatment services may play a role in the recovery process.

The research portfolio consists of three sections. The first is a systematic review of the British literature, investigating the association between psycho-social factors and recovery from heroin dependence. The main themes from the literature are collated and discussed, with reference to the quality of the studies included in the review. The literature review ends with a discussion of the potential for further research.

Part two details an empirical study in which the experiences of clients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) are explored using a qualitative methodology. The study focuses on how clients perceive their recovery process and the role of MMT and drug services. The results of the interpretative phenomenological analysis are stated and the main themes discussed. The apparent split between the positive and negative aspects of the clients own identities, methadone and drug services is emphasised as one of the main themes.

The final section of the research portfolio contains the appendices which contribute towards sections one and two. These appendices include a reflective statement from the perspective of the author regarding the research process and a brief justification for the journal chosen for the publication of this research.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies, The University of Hull
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