Dual Diagnosis (August)

Date of Issue: 08/01/2017 | Volume: 5 | Number: 5

Issue Links:Learning Objectives | Editorial Information

Patients with co-occurring disorders are challenging to treat, and are at risk for poorer outcomes than those with a disorder in isolation. This month, we look at the topic of "dual diagnosis," go over best practices for treating co-occurring disorders, and interview Charles Atkins, MD, on what to do when these patients request addictive medications.

In This Issue


Helping People With Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Topics: Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology Tips | Substance Abuse

Patients with co-occurring disorders (COD, also known as “dual diagnosis”) are often regarded as among the most challenging patients to treat. You need to track two conditions that interact in unpredictable ways, with patients who may not be inclined to follow your recommendations. It’s no surprise that such patients typically have poorer outcomes than those with either disorder in isolation. And these patients are far from rare.

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Expert Q&A

When Dual Diagnosis Patients Request Addictive Medications: What to Do?

Topics: Practice Tools and Tips | Substance Abuse

Despite an increased awareness of co-occurring disorders, there remains a fair amount of confusion about how to treat a mental health issue and a substance abuse issue at the same time without causing more harm. To further complicate the issue, when patients first walk in you often don’t know whether they are dealing with two conditions concurrently. Charles Atkins’ book, Co-Occurring Disorders: Integrated Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders, addresses these problems. We turned to him for some practical guidance.

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Research Update

Do Prizes for Abstinence Increase Sobriety in People With Serious Mental Illness?

Topics: Research Update

Although studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of contingency management (CM) for illicit drug use, there’s less evidence for treatment of alcoholism—in part because a standard breathalyzer has a short detection window of 12 hours, meaning patients must only abstain from drinking since the previous night to pass the test.

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CME Post-Test

Take The CME Post-Test for Dual Diagnosis, CATR, August 2017

Topics: Practice Tools and Tips | Psychopharmacology Tips | Research Updates | Substance Abuse

The post-test for this issue is available for one year after the publication date to subscribers only. By successfully completing the test you will be awarded a certificate for 1 CME credit.

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