Managing mental health problems in everyday life: drug treatment clients’ self-care strategies

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Abstract
Little is understood about the self-care activities undertaken by drug treatment clients. Using data from a qualitative study of drug treatment and mental health we identify the self-care practices of drug treatment clients diagnosed with anxiety and depression. 77 participants were interviewed in four sites across Australia. Participants described a range of self-care practices for mental health including: self-medication, seeking social support, physical exercise, counselling-derived techniques, keeping busy and other less common strategies. These findings show that drug treatment clients undertake similar self-care practices to the general population and illicit drug users and that these activities echo beneficial practices identified in the research literature. The results suggest opportunities for service providers to work with clients on self-care activities that may improve mental health. Tensions between consumer and professional views of self-care, and the limits to encouraging self-care as a substitute for treatment, are discussed.
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Holt, Martin
Treloar, Carla
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2008
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Journal Article
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