Skip to main content

Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Older Adults Teaching Module

This teaching module contains PowerPoint slides with teaching notes, a teaching script, and additional resource materials that include information related substance abuse disorders unique to older adults. Provides information related to types of older drinkers, misuse of prescription medications, factors that contribute to substance abuse among older adults, mental health co-morbidity, alcohol dependence with depressive disorders, cognitive impairments or co-morbid anxiety disorders, DSM-IV diagnosis, and assessment and diagnosis. Also describes the use of the following screening tools: CAGE; Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test - Geriatric (MAST-G); Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT); Alcohol-Related Problems Survey (ARPS); and Impressions of Medication, Alcohol, and Drug Use in Seniors (IMADUS). Interventions and treatments, motivational counseling, and cognitive-behavioral approaches are discussed. A quiz, case examples, discussion points and assignments, considerations for treatment, assessment, diagnosis, intervention and treatment exercises, websites, recommended videos, test questions, and an extensive reference/resource list are offered.

Competencies Addressed in This Module:

  • Ability to conduct assessment and intervention strategies for substance/drug/alcohol abuse in later life
  • Understanding the effects and interactions of multiple chronic conditions, medication, nutrition, and sudden or ongoing causes of changes in cognitive states and functional capacity
  • Awareness of standardized assessment and diagnostic tools that are appropriate for use with older adults and substance abuse
  • Provision of social work case management to link elders and their families to resources and services, and ability to conduct long-term planning
  • Connection of social work perspectives and related theories to practice with older adults