Annual Conference

TheMHS 2015 S068: Drug and Alcohol Comorbidity

By August 27, 2015 No Comments

The management of young men with co-occurring mental illness, substance use and impulse control disorders. – Michael Monisse-Redman

Michael has worked in a number of clinical and educational roles. One of his aims is to increase awareness of the seriousness of mental illness, substance use and the combination of the two. Michael has spent 25 years as a practicing psychologist, which he says has highlighted the need to identify individuals with co-morbidities. Michael highlights the difficulty of cross-institutional care especially when involving legal issues. He points out the gaps that exist in the research around young males and their access to care, especially when experiencing co-occuring conditions. After working in areas where these men were going for assistance he moved into looking at how research could be conducted to target this group. Michael currently provides a no-fee service to men and a small number of women with co-occurring violence, mental illness and substance misuse. Data that Michael has collected shows no violent behaviour in 78% and significantly reduced substance misuse in 84% of participants. In the future he is looking towards an empirically based profile of the program and conducting longitudinal studies.

Co-occurring mental and substance use disorders in young people: An update on prevalence, impact and implications. – Cath Chapman

Cath provided an interesting insight into understanding patterns of co-occurring mental problems and substance use. Mental and substance use disorders have a large impact on the lives of young people. Many of these issues occur more frequently in young people so it is important to understand the changes in behaviour that are happening. Cath presented numerous interesting statistics on the topic, which should be available when her slides are uploaded. A key finding was that anxiety disorders tend to develop prior to substance misuse and mood disorders, although the relationship between these three variables is complex. She highlighted that comorbidity is more common in females than males. One in four young people will have a mental or substance use disorder and help seeking is often delayed. The gender gap in substance use appears to be closing, with similar findings seen across cultures. Cath would like to see future research looking towards improved understanding regarding the effect of gender, more information provided to young people and incorporating the use of technology to get the important messages across. 

Further information:

The community Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Network (CMHDARN). – Tina Smith

Tina began by explaining the establishment of the CHMDARN in 2010 aimed to increase community sector research activity and build the capacity to produce research. This research network is working to improve outcomes for people with co existing drug and alcohol issues and social issues. The CHMDARN works toward continuing its own improvement. A self-evaluation was conducted using an external company to work towards areas of future improvement. Objectives of the research network include:

  • Building research capacity
  • Building capacity of sectors to develop evidence base
  • Increase participation of people affected by drug and alcohol, mental health or coexisting issues

Tina concluded by highlighting a new course called ‘ask the experts: a guide to consumer and carer participation in research.’ 

Further Information: