Sandra Rasmussen

Sandra Rasmussen

Addiction Specialist, USA

Title: Live well: A recovery model for addiction and other reward deficiency syndrome


Sandra Rasmussen (PhD, RN, LMHC, CAS-F) is a certified Addiction Specialist in alcohol, other drugs, and gambling. She was recognized by the Virginia Public Health Association and honored by the University of Minnesota for her teaching excellence, practice expertise, management competence, research production, scholarly publications, and service contributions in addictions. She currently divides her time among clinical practice, graduate teaching, research, and writing. Her book Addiction Treatment Theory and Practice won the AJN Distinguished Book of the Year Award. A companion volume Addiction Recovery Theory and Practice is under contract. Recovery is her personal and professional passion.


The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Genetics, together with bio-psycho-social-spiritual factors, account for the likelihood one will develop addiction or other RDS disorders. Health professionals can help individuals manage addiction and other RDs disorders to realize recovery: A different, better way of life with purpose and meaning. This presentation describes A Recovery Model for Addiction and other Reward Deficiency Syndrome Disorders. The quality of care concept developed by Avedis Donabedian suggests structure, process, and outcome as a way to organize the model. An ecological paradigm, empowerment theory, and evidence-based practice support this organization. Ten constructs frame the model: self and surroundings; management and self-efficacy; change, lifestyle, and well-being; risks for relapse, relapse prevention, and relapse. The model reflects the shift from the traditional medical psychiatric model of care toward the concept recovery. The definition of recovery advanced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grounds the model. The model embraces the vision and overarching goals of Healthy People 2020. It reflects current addiction practice: i.e., the DSM-5 and the ASAM-3.Live well! Recovery is an idea whose time has come.

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