March 13, 2010

Co-Occurring Disorders

This article should run in the April 2010 Recovery Today here is your sneak look ahead of time!

Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders

Oftentimes, those in the substance abuse field feel ill-prepared to deal with clients who suffer from mental health disorders. The same is frequently true with mental health professionals treating clients with substance use disorders. It is obvious to those of us in either area of the helping field that is it long overdue for us to come together. We can do this by becoming one voice who collectively speaks up for the clients in need.

One element that can contribute to our ability to advocate for the client is our own education. Understanding the areas where we might be of more service could be the most important step. There are many informative trainings and resources available to those wishing to gain knowledge of Co-Occurring disorders.

Through proper training, one can gain a more thorough understanding of specific mental disorders and how to distinguish them from the presentation of substance use disorders or medical conditions. Additional skills can be gained through a greater understanding of key issues and concerns that arise with particular diagnoses and strategies, tools and techniques that best serve the helping professional engage, assess, stabilize and treat the client.

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) answered the many questions and needs in the field related to the linkage of mental health and substance abuse professionals by researching and thus, creating the TIP 42: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders. Some of the main points addressed in this publication are:

· Fostering improvement in treatment by emphasizing the importance of knowledge of both mental health and substance abuse treatment when working with clients for whom both issues are relevant.
· Providing a classification of treatment settings to facilitate systematic planning, consultations, collaborations, and integration.
· Reducing the stigma associated with both disorders and increasing the acceptance of substance abuse and mental health concerns as a standard part of healthcare information gathering.

Go to to order the above referenced TIP 42

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