Book Reviews

Book by Peter Buckley
Review by Hillary Westerhuis
Academic Advisor
USDSU
Sioux Falls, SD


Those of us who started out in mental health counseling before moving to academic advising may be familiar with the term “dual diagnoses”.  My interest in reviewing the Journal of Dual Diagnoses: research and practice in substance abuse comorbidity, was not only for personal interests, but for professional development.  As an advisor I frequently encounter students who self-disclose or show signs of a mental health issue or substance abuse problem.  How our students effectively deal with their mental health issues is vital to their successful completion of an education. If I, as an advisor, become more familiar with dual diagnoses then I may be better equipped to deal with these students.

The Journal of Dual Diagnosis is a first of its kind, in that it deals with the issues of mental health disorder and substance abuse; dual diagnosis. The journal deals with “all research of relevance to the comorbidity of drug and alcohol substance abuse disorders with psychiatric disorders.” (pg. 1)  The bulk of the journal looks at different studies completed within the dual diagnoses field, describing the hypothesis, methodology, results and conclusions of each.  

One overall thing that I learned reading this journal is that it is difficult to tell which diagnosis comes first.  According to the authors of one article “it is not always clear whether substance abuse precedes psychiatric illness or vice versa.” (pg. 24)  

Although I found this journal well-written and interesting, the intended audience is clinicians, psychotherapists and researchers who deal with diagnosing and treating substance abuse and psychiatric illnesses on a regular basis. However academic advisors could benefit from the knowledge that dual diagnoses exist and, indeed are very common. While there is a complexity of dual diagnosis between drugs and mental illness, there is treatment available. I know that now that I am more aware of the existence of dual diagnoses that I can refer students to professionals or community resources.

I would recommend this journal to academic advisors or student services personnel who work with this specific population.


Journal of Dual Diagnosis: research and practice in substance abuse comorbidity (2004). Book by Peter Buckley, MD. Review by Hillary Westerhuis. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press. 119 pp., $75.00. ISBN # 1550-4263
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