Journal of Alcoholism Drug Abuse & Substance Dependence Category: Medical Type: Editorial
The Disconnection between Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment: The Need for the Integrated Care/Treatment Model
*Corresponding Author:Douglas J Muller
Department Of Psychology, Hampton University, Virginia, United States
Received Date: Feb 29, 2016 Accepted Date: Mar 01, 2016 Published Date: May 13, 2016
Researching material for this editorial article, I found a handout from a workshop I attended provided by Hazelden in 1992 and titled “Dual Disorders in the Chemically Dependent Client” that demonstrated the value of chemical dependency and mental health professionals working together to assist addictive clients with co-occurring disorders. One of the primary issues they addressed was, “Why mental health staff don’t like to refer to chemical dependency counselors”. The following concerns were addressed: 1. they simplify everything down to addiction; 2. they influence the client against mental health treatment; 3. they encourage the client to stop using medications; 4. I don’t get the client back; 5. their treatment focus is too simplistic. The second concern they addressed was, “Why chemical dependency counselors don’t like to refer to mental health staff”. The following concerns were addressed: 1. they simplify everything down to the mental illness problem; 2. they influence the client against addiction treatment; 3. they use diagnostic criteria that doesn’t take alcohol/drug use into consideration; 4. I don’t get the client back; 5. their treatment focus overlooks addiction . If any of these statements sound familiar, then possibly the addiction field has not progressed or evolved due to continuing non-acceptance of individuals outside of our specific professions. These disconnections might suggest that providers and therapists are not seeking an integrated approach denying their clients the necessary treatment for co-occurring disorders by not referring to or collaborating with other practitioners.
I suggest that practitioners broaden the focus of their pedagogy in order to strengthen the Substance Use/Addiction field therefore recommend the following areas/issues that need to be addressed:
1. Co-occurring disorders not being considered
2. The relationship and interaction between substance use and mental health disorders
3. Integrate treatments for substance use and mental health
4. Co-facilitation/consultation between substance use and mental health providers
5. Self-medicating issues that are not taken into account during treatment
6. Misdiagnoses due to overlapping substance use and mental health symptoms
7. Training to recognize mental health symptoms by substance use providers
I believe this journal can provide the opportunity to address these issues through our awareness of the need for continuing research and best practice methods when treating those suffering from substance use disorders or addictions. We can also provide knowledge of and access to the appropriate training to develop our skills and available resources that reinforce the Integrate Care/Treatment Model. This model also takes into account the need and provisions for the co-dependentfamily members. All too often the impact of the disorder/co-occurring disorders on family members are not treated or taken into consideration. As I learned over 35 years ago, successful treatment of the client means we must address multilayered issues and that no single technique works for every client or provider. Gaining knowledge, training, and experiences outside of a provider’s comfort zone, creates the opportunity to expand their theories and perceptions of addiction disorders. As scientific evidence produces greater insight of how physical and psychological dynamics interact, the substance use/addiction field needs to continue to develop and grow to utilize this knowledge in its treatment practices. I look forward to learning from other providers their unique insights on substance use treatment; and thank them for their dedication to improving the lives of those with addictions.
- Patrick K (2010) No way to be treated. Tate Publishing & Enterprises, Mustang, OK, USA.
- Hazelden (1992) Dual disorders in the chemically dependent client. Burgin JE (Trainer). Community prevention and professional education. Symposium conducted at the Virginia Project for Addiction Certification Training, Norfolk, VA.
Citation:Muller DJ (2016) The Disconnection between Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment: The Need for the Integrated Care/Treatment Model. J Alcohol Drug Depend Subst Abus 2: 003.
Copyright: © 2016 Douglas J Muller, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.