Dual diagnosis screening: Preliminary findings on the comparison of 50 clients attending community mental health services and 50 clients attending community substance misuse services

V. C. Manning, G. Strathdee, D. Best, F. Keaney, L. McGillivray, J. Witton

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12 Citations (Scopus)


While dual diagnosis research has often focussed on substance misuse disorders among mental health clients, relatively little is known about comparable rates of dual diagnosis in community mental health and substance misuse settings because of, inter alia, limitations and lack of consistency in screening. In the current study clinicians administered a brief screening tool, which detects problematic alcohol, drug use, psychosis and common mental health symptoms, to 50 substance misuse and 50 mental health treatment attenders. Sixty-four per cent of the total sample screened positive for dual diagnosis (positive for any psychiatric disorder and either a drug or alcohol problem). Highest rates were observed in the alcohol sample (92.3%), followed by the drug sample (87.5%), and lowest in the community mental health (CMHT) sample (38%). Current depression and social phobia were most prevalent in alcohol clients compared to psychosis, mania and suicidal ideation in CMHT clients. Around one-third of CMHT clients reported using drugs (mainly cannabis) and around a fifth reported problematic alcohol use. The study demonstrates the feasibility of incorporating a dual diagnosis screen into routine clinical practice. The screen can be used in both mental health and substance misuse treatment settings, which are evidently managing complex client caseloads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual diagnosis screening
  • Mental health
  • Substance use

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