Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

4 points, SCA Band 3, 0.0833333 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Psychological Sciences
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Enrico Cementon


This unit covers substance abuse definitions, classification systems, epidemiology, prevalence & risk factors, major substances of abuse i.e. alcohol, other central nervous system depressants, stimulants & hallucinogens. Features of substance abuse disorder (SAD), assessment, long term effects/complications, family issues, medical/ psychosocial management, the interface between substance abuse disorder & mental health - "Dual Diagnosis", (where serious mental illness & SAD occur in one person) are examined as is the impact of substance abuse in the community, prevention & health promotion, public education, the media, political, economic & social issues related to availability of substances.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the epidemiology, aetiology, psychopathology, clinical features, complications and natural history of substance abuse disorders and the issues specific to "Dual Diagnosis" field.
  2. Describe the organisations involved in the delivery of drug treatment services.
  3. Demonstrate the clinical skills and knowledge needed to assess and develop treatment interventions for patients with substance abuse disorders.
  4. 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 (1,500 words) (40%)
Presentation (30%)
Log book (30%)

Hurdle requirement: 75% attendance.

Chief examiner(s)