One of the most important tasks of the Advisory Unit is to have a continuous and updated overview of knowledge related to the treatment of concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders. We are to know which treatment models and treatment methods are best in offering patients with concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders the most efficient treatment, based upon research and experience.
The guideline for treatment of concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders is clear in recommending «integrated treatment» as the best treatment model for meeting the patient´s needs. Integrated treatment includes various interventions where one of the main objectives is to offer patients simultaneous treatment for both their substance addiction and their mental health disorder following a stage-based treatment model, provided by the same person or team. Most importantly the patient is to experience treatment as holistic and carried out within a general plan, preferably rooted in an individual plan, where the patient actively participates in the planning and the carrying-out of his or her own treatment.
In addition to simultaneous treatment, these elements are important in an integrated treatment model:
- Stage-based treatment
- Motivational interview
- Meaningful recreational activities
- Family and social community
- Self-help groups
The Advisory Unit is actively working towards the goal that as many agents as possible within healthcare services work together at all levels in planning and implementing integrated treatment. One of the measures we have carried out is to publish a manual for ACT/ (Assertive Community Treatment)/FACT (Flexible Assertive Community Treatment). We have previously proved the effect of integrated treatment by looking at systematic reviews within the field and are now actively participating in the evaluations of the ACT teams in the whole country.
Our next step is to establish professional networks related to integrated treatment. The participants will meet regularly in order to develop a Norwegian version of the model. We also wish to establish a research network in connection to the professional network in order to document the effect of various treatment models.