Dual diagnosis: the diagnosis and treatment of depression with co-existing substance misuse

by Dr Roger Bloor and Professor Ilana Crome


Published: April 2006


The prevalence of co-existing substance misuse and psychiatric disorder (dual diagnosis, comorbidity) has increased over the past decade, and the indications are that it will continue to rise.


In recent years there have been unprecedented developments in the pharmacological treatment of alcohol, opiate and nicotine misuse. Here we evaluate the evidence on the use of some of these treatments in dual diagnosis (with psychotic, mood and anxiety disorders). The evidence base is limited by the exclusion of mental illness when pharmacological agents for substance misuse are evaluated and vice versa.


We set the available information within the context of the psychosocial management of comorbid substance misuse and mental illness, and the framework for service delivery recommended by UK national policy.


The module will take you through some of the key points with regard to:


  • terminology
  • prevalence
  • assessment
  • treatment.


Start the module


Please note: This module was published in 2006. A revision is being worked on, but in the meantime please be aware when completing the module that some of the guidance may have changed.


If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Stimulants: epidemiology and impact on mental health by Professor Fabrizio Schifano and Dr Antonio Albanese


Substance misuse in older people by Dr Rahul Rao and Professor Ilana Crome


Treating depression in later life by Professor Robert Baldwin, Dr Deepak K Sachdeva and Dr Amit Nulkar



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