Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

A friend passes along an interesting press releases from SAMSHA that those of you in the field definitely will need to look at and those of us not really, should probably be aware of, too:

Three New SAMHSA Overview Papers Provide Information on State-of-the-Art Approaches to Treatment for People with Co-Occurring Disorders

Three new short overview papers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provide information about how epidemiology, services integration and systems integration research and practices can be best utilized in helping people with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders.

These overview reports are the final in a series developed by SAMHSA’s Co-occurring Center for Excellence (COCE), a leading national public health resource in the field of understanding and disseminating crucial information about addressing this problem. The series is based on the best available science, research and practices and is primarily geared for a wide array of mental health and substance abuse treatment service professionals, although they provide useful information to the general public as well.

The three newly available overview papers include the following:

Services Integration: Overview Paper 6 defines and explains how services integration practices can help merge previously separate substance abuse treatment and mental health clinical services provided at the individual level to people with co-occurring disorders. Combining and coordinating these treatments at the level of direct contact with individual clients can better ensure that their full range of treatment needs are addressed. This approach emphasizes that successful treatment of co-occurring disorders is very often based on providing all the client’s treatment needs as concurrently as possible.

Systems Integration: Overview Paper 7 outlines the benefits of developing public health infrastructures that systematically integrate mental health and substance abuse treatment programs to better meet the full needs of people with these disorders. The paper encourages integrated system planning, continuous quality improvement analysis activities and other practices that lead to more effective, comprehensive public health services for meeting the health needs of this client community.

The Epidemiology of Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders: Overview Paper 8 is presented in two parts. Part 1 provides the general public with a basic understanding of the field of epidemiology and how it has been used to shed light on the problem of co-occurring disorders. In particular, it focuses on three major studies that are regularly referenced as prime sources of information on the nature and scope of this problem. Part 2 is geared more to the scientific community and provides more detailed technical information on these three studies.

SAMHSA is creating these training materials as part of the plan outlined in its November 2002 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Treatment of Co-Occurring Substance Abuse Disorders and Mental Disorders. Previously published short papers address a wide range of other issues and practices related to addressing the needs of people with co-occurring disorders. More information about the Co-Occurring Center for Excellence and the short papers can be found at

Copies may be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Request inventory number SMA-074294 for Overview Paper 6, SMA-074295 for Overview Paper 7, and SMA-074308 for Overview Paper 8. For related publications and information, visit

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