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Substance Use Disorders (PSYT90059)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 6.25Online and On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePSYT90059
May - Online
May - On Campus
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The unit will provide an introduction into the area of substance abuse - definitions, classification systems, and epidemiology including incidence, prevalence and risk factors. It will cover the major substances of abuse including alcohol and other central nervous system depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens. The unit will have a practical approach, covering issues of features of the substance use disorder, assessment, long term effects and complications, family issues and medical and psychosocial management.

The interface between the substance use disorder and mental health and the issue of “Dual Diagnosis”, i.e. the co-occurrence of serious mental illness and substance use disorder in a particular person will comprise a major focus of the selective. Issues specific to the field of “Dual Diagnosis” such as epidemiology, the relationship between mental disorder and substance use disorder, the diagnosis of the respective conditions and their acute and long-term management will be covered.

Delivery of care in various treatment settings such as inpatient care, home-based detoxification, and residential support and rehabilitation services will be examined. Theoretical aspects of addiction and the psychological framework for treatment such as Prochaska and Di Clemente’s ‘stages of change’, motivational interviewing, 12 steps program of AA, co-dependency, relapse prevention and Zinberg’s social setting will be explored. The wider impact of substance abuse in the community will be covered, including prevention and health promotion, public education, the media, political, economic and social issues related to the availability of substances.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Describe the epidemiology, aetiology, psychopathology, clinical features, complications and natural history of substance use disorders and the issues specific to “Dual Diagnosis” field;
  • Describe the organisations involved in the delivery of drug treatment services;
  • Demonstrate the clinical skills and knowledge needed to assess and develop treatment interventions for patients with substance use disorders;
  • Critically reflect on current service structures and systems, and propose improvements; and
  • Demonstrate the skills required to communicate clearly with colleagues especially in relation to the implications of psychiatric issues with colleagues, patients and carers including the specific interpersonal skills required in the management of patients with substance use disorders and to effectively liaise with medical and non-medical colleagues in non-psychiatric settings

Last updated: 19 June 2019