Co-Occurring Disorders: Clinical Dilemmas in Assessment and Treatment

Co-Occurring Disorders: Clinical Dilemmas in Assessment and Treatment



Many individuals who present for services exhibit signs and symptoms of substance use and mental health problems.  Because clinicians often lack training in both addiction and mental health treatment, clients with these co-occurring presentations frequently receive inadequate care, caught in the gap between the mental health and addiction treatment systems.  Clinicians can feel ill equipped to face the increasing population of multiproblem and co-occurring disordered people.

The purpose of the workshop is to assist clinicians in developing assessment and treatment methodologies to improve service delivery for people presenting with co-occurring substance use and mental health issues. This workshop will enhance clinical skills in assessing co-occurring disorders, identifying appropriate treatment services and improving systems of care.  This training will also assist in developing an integrated treatment approach for people with occurring disorders.


  1. Identify definitions and dilemmas in assessment and treatment in co-occurring disorders (COD).
  2. Review the clashes in the mental health and addiction treatment culture that affect services.
  3. Discuss methods and skills to improve assessment of co-occurring disorders.
  4. Apply treatment strategies to develop an integrated service plan and meet the client’s individual needs and readiness for change.
  5. Discuss staff, program and service design issues for improving COD services.

Workshop Agenda

9:00 AM          A.  Dilemmas in Definition, Diagnosis and Disposition

                        B.  Prerequisite Concepts for Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) Work

                        C.  Clashes in the cultures of mental health and substance abuse

                        D.  Determining priorities: psychiatric versus addiction treatment

10:30 AM       BREAK

10:45 AM        E.  Assessment Dilemmas and Skills Development

  • Diagnostic confusion between addiction and mental disorders
  • Decision Tree to assess for co-occurring disorders

12 Noon          Lunch

1:00 PM           F.  Integrated Treatment Approach

  • Treatment options and matching treatment to multidimensional needs
  • Using ASAM multidimensional assessment for holistic care
  • Different Approaches for Various COD Clinical Situations

2:30 PM          BREAK

2:45 PM          G.  Case Consultation and Systems Issues

  • Staff and Program changes for integrated COD services
  • Systems and implementation obstacles in an integrated COD services

4:00 PM          Adjourn