Many people who struggle with a mental illness also struggle with an addiction. Recovery for people coping with both of these issues is complicated because they affect each other and are intertwined. Caregivers may often be at a loss for where to start – did the addictions cause the mental illness, did the mental illness cause the addictions or is there something else leading to both? This workshop provides a framework for working systemically with both issues at the same time. Participants will explore the impact of both addiction and mental illness, an overview of the theoretical frameworks for both issues, and how to integrate strategies in a way that supports health and change.

About This Workshop

Workshop Outline

  • Overview and History of the Link
  • Statistics and Definitions
  • Beliefs and Assumptions
  • Common Dynamics and Characteristics of Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Underlying Causes
  • Impact on the Family
  • Supporting Individuals and Families
  • Overview of Mental Illness
  • Overview of Addiction
  • Treatment Models of Addiction
  • Biological Routes of Addiction
  • Psychological Routes of Addiction
  • Social Routes of Addiction
  • Coping and Regulating
  • Role of Attachment
  • Spiritual Routes of Addiction
  • Assessing for Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Barriers to Assessment & Treatment
  • Bridging the Gap – Towards a Both/And Perspective



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Resource Manual

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On-site Training

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Method of Delivery

Lecture, personal reflection, video, case study review and small group discussion

Target Audience

This is an introductory-intermediate level workshop intended for social workers, social service and health care professionals, teachers, parents, and anyone working with those who struggle with both addictions and mental illness.