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Online Learning

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

Credit Available - See CEUs tab below.

Charles Atkins, MD
6 Hours 01 Minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Feb 13, 2015
Media Type:
Online Learning


  • Are you ignoring the 50% of your clients who have co-occurring substance use and mental disorders?
  • Get the proven 3-step process to craft meaningful, effective, and reimbursable treatment and recovery plans
  • Access dozens of no-cost assessment tools to enhance diagnostic accuracy and to measure outcomes
  • In one day transform your practice – become the “go-to therapist”!

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 flesh. 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.



  • Key concepts: The Recovery Movement, harm reduction and abstinence models
  • The historical perspective of Co-Occurring Disorders and the "No Wrong Door Policy"
  • The quadrants of care
  • Stages of treatment, and sequential, parallel and integrated treatment
  • Integration of behavioral health, substance use, and primary care
    • Rise of the Behavioral Health Home Model
  • Co-occurring and the DSM-5®, the ICD-9, and the ICD-10

The MOST Comprehensive Co-Occurring Assessment and State-of-the-Art Tools

  • The Intake
  • High-risk areas for misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses, and how to navigate them
  • The utility of standardized assessment tools and when to use them
  • How and where to obtain no-cost, and well-validated, diagnosis-specific instruments
  • Pitfalls in obtaining the history: The importance of wide-net information gathering
  • Objective data and how and when to access prescription monitoring databases
  • The assessment of dangerousness
  • Assessing Readiness for Change, and stage-of-change theory
  • How to approach level of care decisions

Co-Occurring Treatment/Recovery Plans in 3 Easy Steps

  • Creating the Problem/Need List
  • Setting goals and objectives that meet client and regulatory needs
  • Developing fully integrated treatment/recovery plans

Evidence-Based Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and strategies
  • Skills training
  • Mindfulness
  • Mutual self-help & peer-based interventions
  • Wellness
  • Family interventions
  • Assertive community treatment and targeted case management
  • Psychopharmacology including replacement strategies

Master Diagnosis-Specific Issues in Co-Occurring Disorders

  • ADHD
  • Depression and Bipolar Disorders
  • Anxiety and PTSD
  • Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders
  • Personality Disorders

Substance-Specific Issues in Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids
  • Tobacco
  • Cocaine and other stimulants, including "Bath Salts"
  • Cannabis & Synthetic Cannabis
  • The internet and other sources of drugs


  • Identify the signs and symptoms of clinically relevant withdrawal states, and how these can mimic other disorders.
  • Identify DSM-5® diagnoses where metrics (standardized assessment tools) can be used to aid in the assessment and outcomes measurement of specific disorders.
  • List key differences between abstinence and harm-reduction models, and the relative merits of each.
  • 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.
  • Identify high-risk situations in co-occurring disorders, and how these influence level-of-care decision making.
  • Identify strategies for working with opioid dependent individuals, including replacement therapies, overdose rescue kits, and working with pregnant women.

To order the book, Co-Occurring Disorders: Integrated Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use and Mental Disorders, please visit our product store.

To order the book, Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: A Practical Resilience Workbook, please visit our product store.


ADA Needs
We would be happy to accommodate your ADA needs; please call our Customer Service Department for more information at 1-800-844-8260.


Satisfaction Guarantee
Your satisfaction is our goal and our guarantee. Concerns should be addressed to: PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000 or call 1-800-844-8260.


General Credits

This course is available for 6.0 total CPDs

The HPCSA has declared that any on-line courses CPD/CEU credited by a certified US board, is automatically CPD/CEU credited in South Africa. 

As there are different boards for different disciplines, we at Acacia suggest that you use the Counselling CPD/CEU credits. These correspond to South African credits of one CPD/CEU per 60 minutes. If you choose to use your discipline's credits, please do so at your discretion.

Florida Social Workers

PESI, Inc. is an approved provider with the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. Provider Number 50-399. This self-study course qualifies for 6.0 continuing education credits. 



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.

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Case Managers, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Professionals

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