Prevalence of co-occurring alcohol and other drug use in an Australian older adult mental health service

Searby, Adam, Maude, Phil and McGrath, Ian 2016, Prevalence of co-occurring alcohol and other drug use in an Australian older adult mental health service, International journal of mental health nursing, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 151-158, doi: 10.1111/inm.12215.

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Title Prevalence of co-occurring alcohol and other drug use in an Australian older adult mental health service
Author(s) Searby, AdamORCID iD for Searby, Adam orcid.org/0000-0001-7457-3221
Maude, Phil
McGrath, Ian
Journal name International journal of mental health nursing
Volume number 25
Issue number 2
Start page 151
End page 158
Total pages 8
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2016-04
ISSN 1445-8330
1447-0349
Keyword(s) aged
comorbidity
dual diagnosis
mental health
substance related disorders
Summary Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder, known as dual diagnosis, is a significant challenge to mental health services. Few older adult specific alcohol and other drug treatment services exist, meaning older adult mental health services may become the default treatment option for many. Evidence suggests that dual diagnosis leads to substandard treatment outcomes, including higher rates of psychiatric relapse, higher costs of care and poorer treatment engagement. This paper explores the prevalence of co-occurring alcohol and other drug (AOD) use in an older adult community mental health service in inner Melbourne, Australia. This aim was accomplished by using a retrospective file audit of clinical intake assessments (n = 593) performed on consumers presenting to the service over a two-year period, June 2012-2014. Of consumers presenting to the service, 15.5% (n = 92) were assessed by clinicians as having co-occurring AOD use. Depression predominated in the dual diagnosis group as the primary mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis consumers in this sample were statistically more likely to be male and younger than their non-dual diagnosis counterparts. A limitation of this audit was the lack of implementation of screening tools, leaving assessment to clinical judgement or the interest of the clinician. This may also explain the discrepancy between the results of this study and previous work. Although appearing to be a relatively small percentage of assessments, the results accounted for 92 individuals with complex mental health, AOD and medical issues. Poor screening procedures in a population that is traditionally difficult to assess need to be rectified to meet the future challenges inherent in the ageing baby boomer generation, changing drug use trends and extended lifespans through harm reduction initiatives and medical advancements.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/inm.12215
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1110 Nursing
1117 Public Health and Health Services
1701 Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30136644

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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