Dual Diagnosis in Older Adults: A Review

  • Searby A
  • Maude P
  • Mcgrath I
 et al. 
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Dual diagnosis is associated with frequent relapse, poor treat-ment engagement and overall unsatisfactory treatment outcomes. A comprehensive review of the contemporary literature examining this issue was conducted, finding a paucity of literature concerning dual diagnosis in older adults. Of the literature appraised for this review, a number of studies examined US Veteran's Affairs popu-lations, which were largely male. Studies concerning older mental health populations were scarce. During the literature search, a number of background studies that influenced contemporary re-search regarding dual diagnosis in older adults were found; these studies were examined regarding their contribution to contempo-rary paradigms concerning older adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. This review presents the re-sults of the contemporary literature concerning dual diagnosis in older adults. Several recurring themes emerge from the literature, including the notion of a statistically small population that, in ab-solute terms, represents a sizeable number of individuals coming to the attention of aged mental health services in the future. Addition-ally, the potential for under-diagnosis in this cohort is highlighted, potentially creating a hidden population of older adults with dual diagnosis. INTRODUCTION The Victorian State Government's 2007 document Dual di-agnosis: Key directions and priorities for service development heralded a paradigm shift in the treatment of coexisting men-tal illness and substance use disorders in Melbourne, Australia. This report recognised the increasing presentations of clients with dual diagnosis to mental health services and the economic

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  • Adam Searby

  • Phil Maude

  • Ian Mcgrath

  • Alfred Health

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