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Geriatrics Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders in the Older Adult

Author: Noah H. Carpenter, MD

CE: 2 hours
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 935 reviews

Course Summary

Older adults who use alcohol or drugs may also have a co-occurring health problem or mental disorder. These patients often have common characteristics that may include being unmarried, early onset of substance use as a younger adult, less than average education and income, existence of a chronic mental illness, and poor social and spiritual support. Retirement with a sudden change in job status, loss of co-workers, and declining health are all factors that are typical of older adults who are diagnosed with substance misuse and a co-occurring physical or mental disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has reported that older adults often lack the social support needed to recognize and to manage a co-occurring health or mental disorder, and they require assistance to be properly screened, diagnosed, and offered options for recovery and a plan of care to achieve optimal health.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.    Introduction

II.    Factors Contributing to Substance Misuse

1. Retirement
2. Bereavement and Grief
3. Comorbid Health Issues

III.    Confusional and Aggressive Behavior

1. Confusional Behavior
2. Aggression

IV.         Screening for a Co-occurring Disorder

      Patient History

V.    Screening Tests

1. Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST)
2. Alcohol Use Disorder

VI.    Comorbidities and Risk of a Substance Use Disorder

1. Collateral Information
2. Fear of Confrontation

VII.         Ageism, Stigma and Denial

      Stigma and Barriers to Treatment

VIII.    Case Study: Older Female With a Co-Occurring Disorder


IX.    Summary


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