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Digital Recording

Co-Occurring Disorders in Substance Use Treatment: Integrated Assessment and Treatment Strategies for Dual Diagnosis Clients

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Charles Atkins, MD
6 Hours 01 Minutes
Mar 31, 2021
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Digital Recording
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Co-occurring disorders are more the rule than the exception with clients who have substance use issues.

But the unique interplay of psychiatric disorders and substance use makes co-occurring disorders difficult to diagnose and complex to treat. In many cases, clients receive treatment for one disorder while the other remains undiagnosed and unaddressed until it’s too late.

How can you ensure that you’re seeing the whole picture and are properly prepared to provide the very best treatment for clients with multiple co-morbidities?

Charles Atkins, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist, member of the Yale volunteer faculty, and author of over 20 books including Co-Occurring Disorders: Integrated Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders (PESI, 2014, 2021), that is part of the core-curriculum in schools across the country.

In this comprehensive one-day training Dr. Atkins will share the skills, interventions and clinical insights he’s cultivated over three decades of work with these clients.

Watch him and discover how you can:

  • Cut through the complexities to complete a thorough assessment of treatment needs
  • Confidently address high-risk issues like ongoing use of fentanyl-adulterated street drugs, and dangerousness to self and others.
  • Skillfully tackle stage of change and level of motivation challenges
  • Write observable and measurable goals and objectives for treatment plans
  • Reduce risk of relapse with individualized and whole person approaches
  • Integrate substance use disorder treatment with interventions for specific diagnosis such as PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and more

Best of all, Dr. Atkins will cover it all with detailed examples and real-world case studies that make the strategies he shares accessible and applicable to clinicians at every level.

These patients are already in your practice. Don’t miss this chance to enhance your skills so you can help them move with confidence into recovery and the lives they want.

Purchase today!



This online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD.



Charles Atkins, MD's Profile

Charles Atkins, MD Related seminars and products

Charles Atkins, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist, clinical trainer, Chief Medical Officer of Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA), member of the Yale volunteer faculty, and a past regional medical director for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (CT). A frequent lecturer on opioid addiction and Medication Assisted Treatment, Dr. Atkins is the author of Opioid Use Disorders: A Holistic Guide to Assessment, Treatment, and Recovery (PESI, 2018) and Co-Occurring Disorders: Integrated Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders (PESI, 2014) which has been included in the core curriculum of multiple schools of social work and substance abuse counseling. He is also the author of more than 15 other traditionally published books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has had hundreds of short stories and articles appear in publications ranging from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) to Writer’s Digest Magazine.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Charles Atkins is the managing member of Atkins Unlimited, LLC. He is a practicing psychiatrist and an instructor at the Yale University School of Medicine. He serves as the CME Medical Director for PESI, Inc., and he receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He is a published author and receives royalties. he has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Charles Atkins has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Evaluate the clinical implications of intoxication and withdrawal syndromes that can mimic mental health disorders.
  2. Assess the differences and relative merits and limitations of abstinence and harm-reduction models.
  3. Utilize specific instruments to assess for mood, trauma, anxiety, ADHD, and substance use disorders.
  4. Formulate treatment goals and objectives for patients with co-occurring disorders that are behavioural, measurable, meaningful and client-specific.
  5. Determine how high-risk situations influence level-of-care decision making in work with patients with co-occurring disorders.
  6. Analyze strategies and current best practices to work people who have opioid use disorders and co-occurring mental health diagnoses.


Key Concepts

  • Epidemiology of SUDs
  • The differences between harm reduction and abstinence models
  • The interplay of substance use and mental disorders
  • Co-occurring disorders and the DSM-5® and ICD-10

High-Risk Areas for Misdiagnoses and Missed Diagnoses

  • Prognostic implications of co-occurring disorders
  • The co-occurring matrix - SUD/mental health combinations to look for Medical co-morbidities

Assessment and Screening Tools:
Uncover Mental Health Conditions and Their Relation to Substance Use

  • The intake and pitfalls in obtaining the history
  • How to assess for dangerousness to self or others
  • Specific instruments to assess for mood, trauma, anxiety, ADHD
  • Substance use screening tools
  • Physical signs and symptoms of intoxication or withdrawal states
  • Assessing readiness for change and motivation

How to Create Fully Integrated Treatment Plans for Clients with Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Establishing the problem/need list
  • Writing specific, realistic and measurable goals and objectives
  • Identify and address emergent issues
  • Wellness – nutrition, exercise, sleep
  • How to approach level of care decisions
  • How and when to access prescription monitoring databases
  • Case studies

Evidence-Based Therapies and Strategies for Improved Outcomes

  • Mindfulness for emotional regulation in recovery
  • CBT techniques to establish new perspectives and behaviours
  • DBT and dialectical abstinence interventions for non-judgmental problem solving
  • Match motivational enhancement strategies to your clients’ stage of change
  • Trauma-based therapies that target substance use disorders
  • The Seeking Safety Model in dual diagnosis treatment
  • Harm reduction and abstinence in the midst of the opioid overdose epidemic
  • Research limitations and risks of psychotherapeutic approaches

Medication for Opioid Use Disorders/Medication Assisted Treatment (MOUD/MAT)

  • Medication for opioid withdrawal
  • MAT for alcohol withdrawal
  • When MAT is not advised

Other Substance Specific Issues

  • Sedative hypnotics
  • Cocaine and other stimulants, including “Bath Salts”
  • How cannabis impacts clients mental and physical health

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Case Managers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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