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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1993 Feb;181(2):86-90.

Rehabilitation for adults with severe mental illness and substance use disorders. A clinical trial.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201.


Faced with many patients with comorbid severe mental illness and substance use disorders, a university-affiliated, inner-city community mental health center and a psychosocial rehabilitation center initiated this clinical trial assessing a program to care for these patients. Fifty-four patients, age 18 to 40, with either schizophrenia or major affective disorder and a substance use disorder were randomly assigned to usual community mental health center and rehabilitation services with or without an innovative group and intensive case management program. One-year follow-ups detected no significant advantages on patient outcomes for adding the innovative program to usual services. Failure to engage patients in the experimental program posed a major and enduring barrier to treatment, despite intensive case management. Future efforts must give greater consideration to effective engagement techniques and patients' readiness for active treatment.

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