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Co-Occurring Disorders

Defining Co-Occurring Disorders

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Individualized Assessment and Treatment

Creating Integrated Treatment Systems

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Creating Integrated Treatment Systems

Currently, in the United States, individuals with co-occurring disorders must negotiate separate substance abuse and mental health treatment systems that are not always able to meet the full range of their needs. SAMHSA, along with many other federal, state and local agencies, are recognizing the value of creating integrated systems of care for people with co-occurring disorders.

SAMHSA Administrator, Charles Curie notes, "Our goal is to create a system that allows any door to be the right door for the services an individual needs. It is the right thing to do. Any person entering mental health care, substance abuse treatment, or primary care should be screened for mental disorders and substance abuse, then provided appropriate treatment."

SAMHSA, in its report to Congress, defines integrated treatment as "any mechanism by which treatment interventions for co-occurring disorders are combined within the context of a primary treatment relationship or service setting" (CSAT, in press).

The report also indicates that effective treatment for co-occurring disorders should include:

  • time-sensitive screening
  • comprehensive assessment
  • program-oriented and specific clinical interventions of medications and psychosocial treatments

Resources on Integrated Treatment Systems:

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