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Module III. Introduction to Screening and Assessment of Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders: Screening and Assessment, Step 3 and Step 7. Module III Objectives. Review Step 3: Screen for and Detect Co-Occurring Disorders Review Step 4: Determine Quadrant and Locus of Responsibility

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Module III

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Module III

Introduction to Screening and Assessment of Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders: Screening and Assessment, Step 3 and Step 7

Module III Objectives

  • Review Step 3: Screen for and Detect Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Review Step 4: Determine Quadrant and Locus of Responsibility

  • Review Step 5: Determine Level of Care

  • Review Step 6: Determine Diagnosis

  • Review Step 7: Determine Disability and Functional Impairment

  • Case Studies

Review of Module II

  • Reactions, questions or comments from the readiness to change and motivational survey answers from Module I

  • Reactions, questions or comments from Module I

Review of Assignments

  • Review the text box on page 67— Advice to the Counselor: Do’s and Don’ts of Assessment for COD.

  • Continue reading TIP 42 Chapter 4

Major Aims of the Assessment Process

  • To obtain a more detailed chronological history of past mental symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and impairment, particularly before the onset of substance abuse, and during periods of extended abstinence.

  • To obtain a more detailed description of current strengths, supports, limitations, skill deficits, and cultural barriers related to following the recommended treatment regimen for any disorder or problem.

  • To determine stage of change for each problem, and identify external contingencies that might help to promote treatment adherence.

Activity – TIP ZIP Test

  • You will have five (5) minutes to complete the test.

  • You may NOT use the TIP during test

  • At the end you can check with your neighbor and change your responses if you wish. But not the TIP

Step 3: Screen for and Detect Co-Occurring Disorders

Screen for:

  • Acute safety risk

  • Past and present mental health symptoms/disorders

  • Past and present substance abuse disorders

  • Cognitive and learning deficits

  • Past and present victimization and trauma

Safety Screening

  • Safety screening requires that early in the interview the clinician directly ask the client (and anyone else providing information) if the client has any immediate impulse to engage in violent or self-injurious behavior or is in any immediate danger from others.

  • If the answer is yes, the clinician should obtain more detailed information about the nature and severity of the danger, and any other information relevant to safety.

  • If the client appears to be at some immediate risk, the clinician should arrange for a more in-depth risk assessment by a qualified clinician, and the client should not be left alone or unsupervised.

  • Who in your agency is qualified to provide suicide risk assessments?

  • What are their qualifications?

  • When are suicide risk assessments completed and how often?

  • When and how is staff trained in providing suicide risk assessments?

  • How is this suicide risk assessment documented?

Knowing what questions to ask does not automatically make one qualified to provide a mental health, substance abuse, or suicide risk assessments.

Quick TIP Exercise

  • Christine in Appendix

    • What if Christine was obviously high and furious, and blaming her parents for revealing the results of his drug test to her probation officer who was making recommendations about treatment

Screening for Past and Present Mental Disorders in a Substance Abuse Setting

  • To understand a client’s history. If the history is positive for a mental disorder, this will alert the counselor and treatment team to the types of symptoms that might reappear so that the counselor, client, and staff can be vigilant about the emergence of any such symptoms.

  • To identify clients who might have a current mental disorder and need both an assessment to determine the nature of the disorder and an evaluation to plan for its treatment.

    3.For clients with a current COD, to determine the nature of the symptoms that might wax and wane so that the client can monitor the symptoms. Special attention is given to how the symptoms improve or worsen in response to medications, “slips” (i.e., substance use), and treatment interventions.

Screening for Past and Present Substance Use Disorder

  • Screening for substance use problems begins with inquiry about past and present substance use and substance-related problems and disorders. If the client answers yes to having problems and/or a disorder, further assessment is warranted

Trauma Screening

  • To screen, it is important to limit questioning to very brief and general questions such as, “Have you ever experienced childhood physical abuse? Sexual abuse? A serious accident? Violence or the threat of it?”

Determine Quadrant and Locus of Responsibility

  • To ask participants to what extent they are familiar with the 4 Quadrants of Care?

  • Review the text box at the bottom of page 82 in TIP 42.


More severe

mental disorder/

more severe


abuse disorder

Locus of care:

State hospitals,


emergency rooms, etc.

High Severity


Less severe

mental disorder/

more severe


abuse disorder

Locus of care:

Substance abuse system

Alcohol and other drug abuse


Less severe

mental disorder/

Less severe

substance abuse disorder

Locus of care:

Primary health care settings


More severe

mental disorder/

less severe


abuse disorder

Locus of care:

Mental health system

Low Severity

High Severity

Mental Illness


Collaboration between systems

Eligible for public mental health services but not alcohol/drug services

High Severity Psychiatric Symptoms/Disorders


Low to Moderate Severity Substance Issues/Disorders

Services provided in outpatient and inpatient mental health system



Collaboration between systems

Eligible for public alcohol/drug services but not mental health services

Low to Moderate Psychiatric Symptoms/Disorders


High Severity Substance Issues/Disorders

Services provided in outpatient and inpatient chemical dependency system

Integration of services

Eligible for public alcohol/drug and mental health services

High Severity Psychiatric Symptoms/Disorders


High Severity Substance Issues/Disorders

Services provided in specialized treatment programs with cross-trained staff or multidisciplinary teams



Consultation between systems

Generally not eligible for public alcohol/drug or mental health services

Low to Moderate Psychiatric Symptoms/Disorders


Low to Moderate Severity Substance Issues/Disorders

Services provided in outpatient chemical dependency or mental health system

Special Note on C-GAS Score

  • Special Note on C-GAS Score: A concern has been expressed about using the C-GAS score to inform placement for COD clients in the substance abuse system. The concern is that a low C-GAS score would mean an automatic placement into the mental health system. These clients should be assessed based on ASAM-PPC 2 within the Emotional Behavioral Conditions and Complications and the question should be whether the client’s level of functioning is too impaired to be able to participate in substance abuse treatment. This may not be determined until after a client has completed withdrawal.

  • To determine SMI status start by finding out if the client is already receiving mental health priority services (e.g., Do you have a mental health case manager? Are you a client of Community/County Mental Health?).

  • If the client is not already a mental health client, and their symptoms and behavior adversely affects their ability to function within the structure of the substance abuse agency, then it might be necessary to arrange for referral for a more comprehensive assessment.

Determination of Severity of Substance Use Disorders

  • The presence of active or unstable substance dependence or serious substance abuse (e.g., recurrent substance-induced psychosis without meeting other criteria for dependence) would identify the client as being in which quadrant?

    (Quadrant III or IV)

  • The presence of less serious substance use disorder (mild to moderate substance abuse; substance dependence in full or partial remission) identifies the client as being in which quadrants?

    (Quadrant I or II)

  • Clients in Quadrant III who present in substance abuse treatment settings are often best managed by receiving care in the addiction treatment setting, with collaborative or consultative support from mental health providers.

  • Clients in Quadrant IV usually require intensive intervention to stabilize and determination of eligibility for mental health services and appropriate locus of continuing care.

Developmental Context

  • For adolescents this onset and offset information must be placed in developmental context. A careful developmental history is a routine part of a mental health interview and is designed to assess not only impact of symptoms on functioning throughout childhood but also to assess the impact of developmental delays on assessment of current functioning. Treatment planning for adolescents includes educational placements and the tailoring of treatment materials to developmental level so it is critical to assess the following domains:

  • This information is best gathered from the client and a caregiver. In the absence of parents a caseworker or probation counselor may be the primary informant. School records can also yield valuable information about the client’s mental health history prior to the onset of substance use.

Developmental Domains (non-exhaustive)







  • Developmental Domains

  • Physical

  • Teratogens

  • Growth, head circumference

  • ØStress

  • Chronic Illness

  • Nutrition/ Weight

    ØHormones/ Puberty

Developmental Domains


ØSynaptic Growth and Pruning

ØSpeech and Language

ØReasoning Ability

ØInternal Working Models

ØAttributional Styles

  • Developmental Domains

  • Social

  • ØAttachment/ Bonding

  • ØParent-child interaction

  • ØSibling Relationships

  • Peer Relationships

  • Social Skills

  • ØPerspective-taking

  • Morals/ Rules

Developmental Domains



ØBonding/ Attachment


ØEmotional Regulation

ØEmotion Identification

  • Developmental Domains

  • Behavioral

  • ØBehavioral Inhibition

  • ØStimulus-response learning

  • ØInstrumental Learning

  • ØSocial Learning

  • ØSelf-instruction, Self-Talk

  • Contingency Management

Developmental Timeline




3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

  • Note:

  • Birth complications

  • Developmental milestones

  • Early Aggression

  • School adjustment

  • Peer relationships

  • Traumatic events

  • Family life events

  • Onset of problem behaviors

  • Onset of legal/criminal problems

  • Protective factors, strengths

Importance of Client History

Case 2

  • Christine has methamphetamine dependence and bipolar disorder stabilized with lithium. She reports that when She uses meth she has mood swings, but that these go away when she stops using for a while, as long as she takes her medication. At the initial visit Christine. states she has not used for a week and has been taking her medication regularly. She displays no significant symptoms of mania or depression and appears reasonably calm. The counselor should not conclude that because Christine has no current symptoms the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is incorrect, or that all the mood swings are due to methamphetamine dependence. At initial contact, the presumption should be that the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is accurate, and lithium needs to be maintained.

TIP Exercise – Application to Case Examples

  • Why is it prudent for a clinician to assume Christine’s existing diagnosis is accurate?

  • What if you, the clinician, suspect that Christine’s bipolar diagnosis is inaccurate?

  • What action should you take?

  • If a client comes into the clinician’s office under the influence of alcohol, it is reasonable to suspect alcohol dependence, but what is the only diagnosis that can be made based on that evidence?

(Alcohol intoxication)

  • If a client comes into the clinician’s office and says she hears voices, regardless of whether or not the client is sober currently, what diagnosis should be made on that basis?

(No diagnosis should be made on that basis alone.)

Documenting Prior Diagnoses

  • Diagnoses established by history should not be changed at the point of initial assessment. Issues related to diagnosis should be raised by the counselor with the clinical supervisor or at a team meeting.

  • If the clinician suspects a long-established diagnosis may be invalid, before recommending diagnostic re-evaluation it is important that the clinician take the time to:

    • Gather additional information

    • Consult with collaterals

    • Get more careful and detailed history

    • Develop a better relationship with the client

Linking Mental Symptoms to Specific Periods

  • The mental disorder and substance use history have in the past been collected separately and independently. As a result, the opportunity to evaluate interaction between mental symptoms and periods of abstinence, which is the most important diagnostic information beyond the history, has been lost routinely. Newer and more detailed assessment tools overcome these divisions.

The substance abuse treatment counselor can proceed in two ways:

1.Inquire whether any mental symptoms or treatments identified in the screening process were present:

  • during periods of 30 days of abstinence or longer

  • before onset of substance use.

2.More reliable information may result by defining with the client specific time periods where the substance use disorder was in remission, and then getting detailed information about mental symptoms, diagnoses, impairments, and treatments during those periods of time.

Step 7: Determine Disability and Functional Impairment

  • How is disability and functional impairment determined in your programs? How do you use this information?

Determining the Need for “Capable” or “Enhanced” Level Services

  • A specific tool to assess the need for “capable” or “enhanced” level services for persons with COD currently is not available. The consensus panel recommends a process of “practical assessment” that seeks to match the client’s assessment (mental health, substance abuse, level of impairment) to the type of services needed.

Wrap up

Any questions?

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