Substance Use Disorders

Subject PSYT90059 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 13-May-2016 to 17-Jun-2016
Assessment Period End 08-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 20-May-2016
Census Date 27-May-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 17-Jun-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 6 weeks x 3.5 hour seminars
Total Time Commitment:


Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.
It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Kah-Seong Loke


Administrative contact:

Victoria Kingsley

Subject Overview:

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 abuse disorder, assessment, long term effects and complications, family issues and medical and psychosocial management.

The interface between the substance abuse 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 Zimberg’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.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Describe the epidemiology, aetiology, psychopathology, clinical features, complications and natural history of substance abuse 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
  • Case history, 1500 words, due at the end of the end of semester examination period (50%)
  • 10 minute class presentation, during term, (30%)
  • Logbook, due at the end of the end of semester examination period (20%)
  • Attendance: 75% of sessions (for face-to-face students) OR 75% completion of online modules (for online students) (Hurdle requirement)
Prescribed Texts:
  • Solomon, J., Zimberg, S. & Shollar, E. (ed) (1993), Dual diagnosis: Evaluation, Treatment, Training and Program Development, Plenum Medical Books Co, New York
  • Gitlow S. (2006), Substance Use Disorders, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia
  • Cami J & Farre M (2003), Mechanisms of disease: Drug Addiction, New England Journal of Medicine 2003: 349 (10) pp. 975-986
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Master of Psychiatry
Master of Psychiatry

Download PDF version.