A large proportion of people who experience drug problems also experience a range of mental health problems. Similarly, many people who experience mental health problems engage in hazardous drug use. The experience of these co-occurring disorders increases use of treatment services, but is associated with poorer prognosis. The implementation of effective responses has been hindered by the disaggregated systems of care that have been adopted in many countries; many problems are the outcome of poorly organised systems of care that do not reflect the needs of a large proportion of clients who experience various problems.
There is a dearth of quality research to guide the development of evidence-based responses to co-occurring drug and mental health problems. This book introduces the reader to the issues, guided by a series of questions. These encourage the reader to consider the evidence about the nature and prevalence of co-occurring disorders and the challenges they create for individuals, the community and service providers. The diverse range of expertise of the contributors provides the opportunity to consider the challenges of navigating the various systems of care from the perspective of consumers, parents and clinicians. Researchers and clinicians examine the available evidence about the links between the various disorders and discuss the implications for treatment through a series of case studies. The reader is guided through evidence-based clinical decision-making.
The editor and contributors argue that, while our knowledge and expertise is improving, there is a need to better resource and integrate treatment services to foster the adoption of evidence-based and effective responses. Poor systems of care don't necessarily cause co-occurring mental health and drug problems, but they can contribute to poor outcomes.