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PSME404 Addiction Assessment

A clinical paper addressing assessment, formulation, treatment planning and communicating clinical findings, in people with addiction and co-existing disorders.

This paper is part of a postgraduate training programme offered by the National Addiction Centre, University of Otago, Christchurch, intended for a broad range of health professionals and colleagues in allied sectors who wish to study at a higher academic level and develop advanced clinical knowledge and skills in the addiction area.

Paper title Addiction Assessment
Paper code PSME404
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,018.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PSMX 404
Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGCertPHC, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPHC
Students must have worked clinically for at least two years before commencing this paper, and at the time of study must be working clinically in a therapeutic setting.
PSME 404 is designed primarily for clinicians working with people who have addiction and coexisting mental health disorders. This includes clinicians in dedicated alcohol and drug treatment and/or mental health services at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. All students will need to be working in a setting in which they are involved in the treatment of people who have alcohol and drug problems as part of their presentation.

Teaching staff

Convenor: Associate Professor Simon Adamson
Lecturer Māori: Karaitiana Tickell
Lecturer Pacific: Phil Siataga
Consumer advisor: Martin Burke

Paper Structure
The paper is essentially divided into two parts:
  • Part A focuses on core topics relevant to the development of skills in comprehensive assessment and management planning for patients with significant alcohol and other drug problems and coexisting mental health disorders
  • Part B consists of three special topics of study: medical complications of alcohol and drug misuse; coexisting substance use and mental health disorders; cultural issues
Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

PSME 404 will run in the first semester as a combination of two compulsory Christchurch-based block courses, a series of video-conference classes and web-based self-directed learning modules.


Te Ariari o te Oranga: The Assessment and Management of People with Co-existing Mental Health and Substance Use Problems 2010, Fraser C. Todd, 2010.

Management of Alcohol and Drug Problems, Eds G. Hulse, J. White, G. Cape, 2002.

Interview Guide for Evaluating DSM 5 Psychiatric Disorders and the Mental Status Examination, M. Zimmerman, 2013.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this paper students will
  • Understand the range of approaches to screening and assessment of people with alcohol and drug problems
  • Be able to complete a comprehensive assessment of patients with moderate to severe alcohol and drug dependence
  • Formulate an appropriate management plan based on the findings of the comprehensive assessment
  • Communicate the findings of the assessment and management plan concisely and effectively
  • Communicate the findings of the assessment and management plan concisely and effectively via a written report
  • Conduct a feedback session to patients and significant others

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Long case final examination 55%
Cultural assignment 15%
Written examination 30%

Further Information

Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 372 6704 

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system