Seminar Detail

Co-Occurring Disorders: The Integrated Assessment and Comprehensive Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

I was well into my career as a psychiatrist, both clinical and administrative, when it sank in that well-over half the people who came to me for help had significant co-occurring substance use and mental disorders.

Sadly, what happens is that current assessment and treatment paradigms focus primarily on one problem or the other, leaving much unassessed, unaddressed, or ignored.

For anyone who has watched a client or family member struggle with drugs or alcohol, achieve abstinence in a rehab facility, only to relapse within days to weeks after discharge, this point is made fresh. What happened? They were doing so well. What happened is that their anxiety, depression, impulsivity, and so forth, led to urges and cravings that they were unequipped to manage. In the millisecond it took for their mind to connect a first drink, pill, snort, or shot of heroin to a reduction in anxiety and other negative emotions, a month’s worth of 12-step became nothing but a memory.

All of which led me to want a consistent and effective approach to assess and work with individuals with any number of co-occurring combinations. It’s clear that what we need for the homeless woman, with intravenous opioid use and schizoaffective disorder, is different from the insurance executive who sucks down a daily fifth of whiskey to keep his anxiety and panic at bay, or the teen who cuts herself and misuses her brother’s stimulants to both decrease her appetite, and her overwhelming feelings of sadness and emptiness.

This day-long training provides practical assessment and treatment strategies, which can be deployed across the co-occurring continua. Whether you are an administrator who creates interventions at the system level, or a rubber-meets-the-road clinician, the step-by-step approaches we will discuss and use (lots of case studies) will give you the tools you need to both improve and track your clinical outcomes.

  1. Identify the signs and symptoms of clinically relevant withdrawal states, and how these can mimic other disorders.
  2. Identify DSM-5® diagnoses where metrics (standardized assessment tools) can be used to aid in the assessment and outcomes-measurement of specific disorders.
  3. List key differences between abstinence and harm-reduction models, and the relative merits of each.
  4. Be able to formulate treatment and recovery goals and objectives that are desirable, measurable, behavioral, CMS and Joint Commission compliant, and specific to the client.
  5. Identify high-risk situations in co-occurring disorders, and how these influence level-of-care decision making.
  6. Identify strategies for working with opioid dependent individuals, including replacement therapies, overdose rescue kits, and working with pregnant women.


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: Charles Atkins is Chief Medical Officer for Community Mental Health Affiliates, LLC (CMHA). He receives royalties as an author for Sourcebooks. Dr. Atkins receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Nonfinancial: Charles Atkins has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

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