Methods of changing patterns of substance use among individuals with co-occurring schizophrenia and substance use disorder

Stephen A. Maisto, Kate B. Carey, Michael P. Carey, Daniel M. Purnine, Kristin L. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Individuals with a severe mental illness and substance use disorder tend to have medical and social problems and to make slower progress in treatment than those who have either disorder alone. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to the discovery of effective methods of modifying substance use in the severely mentally ill (SMI). The purpose of this study was to collect qualitative data as a way to help identify techniques that might help to change patterns of substance use in the SMI. The participants were 21 men and women who were psychiatric clinic outpatients and who had a current schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis. A total of 18 participants had a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence, and 21 lifetime other drug diagnoses were recorded for the sample. These individuals participated in focus group discussions about topics related to substance use and people's experiences with trying to quit. The results showed that participants identified several therapeutic and extratherapeutic factors that helped them to initiate and maintain changes in their substance use, as well as factors that hindered change. The findings are related to knowledge about the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment techniques in general, and implications of the data are discussed for the conduct of integrated treatment of individuals with severe mental illness and a substance use disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Dual diagnosis
  • Methods change
  • Qualitative data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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