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Maturing out, natural recovery, and dual diagnosis: What are the implications for older adult mental health services?


Searby, A and Maude, P and McGrath, I, Maturing out, natural recovery, and dual diagnosis: What are the implications for older adult mental health services?, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24, (6) pp. 478-84. ISSN 1445-8330 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1111/inm.12143


In 1962, Charles Winick proposed that addiction was a self-limiting process, whereby individuals stopped using substances once the stresses of life transitions ceased. The notion of maturing out, as labelled by Winick, often forms the basis of the natural recovery movement in alcohol and other drug (AOD) research, aiding the notion that older individuals either cease their substance use or fall victim to the higher mortality rates prevalent in substance-using populations. As more consumers present to adult mental health treatment settings with co-occurring substance use disorders, the idea that individuals will simply cease using AOD is outdated. Given the future challenges of an ageing population, it is prudent to explore those who fail to mature out of substance use, as well as challenge the notion that older adult mental health services rarely encounter substance-using individuals. The present study explores Winick's research in the context of an ageing population and older adult mental health services. It also ponders the proposition put forth in subsequent research that older individuals with lifelong substance use switch to substances that are easier to obtain and better tolerated by their ageing bodies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:maturing out, mental health, natural recovery, older adult, substance use disorder
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Aged health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Maude, P (Professor Phillip Maude)
ID Code:105988
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-01-22
Last Modified:2017-11-05

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