Recovery from a substance use disorder is defined as a process of improved physical, psychological, and social well-being and health after having suffered from a substance-related condition.

There are several other ways in which recovery can be defined – some, for example, mention the resolution of a substance use problem, while others specify abstinence.

The Recovery 101 section reviews the wide range of recovery definitions, and takes a closer look at the science and theory behind recovery.


Fast Facts

Pathways to Recovery

The Brain in Recovery

Fast Facts provides 10 of the most important scientifically-grounded facts about recovery. Expand each fact to learn more about the supporting research.

Pathways to Recovery outlines myriad ways in which individuals with substance use disorder can engage in a process of recovery-related change. Pathways described include clinical pathways (provided by a clinician or other medical professional – both medication and psychosocial interventions), non-clinical pathways (services that do not involve a clinician such as mutual-help organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous), and self-management pathways (recovery change processes that involve no formal services, sometimes referred to as “natural recovery”).

The Brain in Recovery reviews research on how the brain changes (i.e., recovers) as individuals enter, and progress through substance use disorder recovery. Connections between these neurobiological processes and observable, recovery-related behaviors are also discussed.

Additional Articles and Resources:

Information on special topics.





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