Co-Occurring Disorders during-rehab


Co-Occurring disorders are present when there are two or more disorders at the same moment and these disorders were also called dual diagnosis or dual disorder. For instance, an individual can go through substance dependency while having bipolar disorder, too.

The special terms used to describe people with dual disorder has evolved in the same way that the area of addictions and mental disorder treatment has grown and advanced.


The terms dual disorder or dual diagnosis are replaced by the term co-occurring disorders. Even though the terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder are used regularly to refer to the combination of psychological disorders and drug use, these terms are misleading as they can also refer to other combinations of disorders like mental retardation and psychological disorders.

Also, there can be more than just two disorders present, while these terms are implying otherwise. People who have co-occurring disorders also referred to as COD, often have at least one mental disorder and at least one disorder springing from alcohol or substance abuse as well. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders is caused when at least one disorder of each type can be managed independent of the other and is not the simple bunch of symptoms resulting from the on disorder.

Even though the term co-occurring disorder is the most up to date term that is used by professionals, the term dual disorders will be used interchangeably for the objectives of this article.


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The acronym MICA, which constitutes the phrase Mentally ILL Chemical Abusers, is eventually used to nominate people who have a COD and markedly serious and continued mental disorder like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A better word that is more preferred in terms of its connotation is Mentally Ill Chemically Affected. The other acronyms used are as follows MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent), MISA (mentally ill substance abusers), SAMI (substance abuse and mental illness), MISU (mentally ill substance using), ICON PSD (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders) and CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness).

Some typical examples of co-occurring disorders are the combinations of cocaine addiction with major depression, occasional polydrug abuse with borderline personality disorder, panic disorder with alcohol addiction and polydrug addiction and alcoholism with schizophrenia. Some patients have more than two disorders even if the focus of this is on dual disorders. The set of ideas which is relevant to dual disorders is as well used for multiple disorders.

Combinations of mental disorders and co-occurring problems differ across crucial aspects like seriousness, level of impairment in functioning, duration and disability. For instance, in the event if having two disorders, one may be either serious or mild or that one may be more serious than the other. Indeed, the seriousness of both disorders may alter over time. Degrees of impairment in functioning and disability might also differ.

Therefore, there isn't a specific combination of dual disorders; in reality, there's a big difference among these. Although patients with the same combination of dual disorders most of the time are met in some treatment programmes.


More than 50 per cent of adults who suffer from a serious mental disorder are also weakened by substance use disorders (addiction or abuse connected to alcohol or other substances).


Patients that have co-occurring disorders commonly feel stronger and chronic medical, emotional and social issues compared to those that only have a mental disorder or COD without the other. The severity of their condition makes them more prone to COD relapses as well as to worsening of their mental health disorders. What's more, an addiction relapse frequently results in psychiatric decompensation and when mental problems worsen it frequently results in addiction relapse. That means that patients with co-occurring disorders require a specific relapse prevention plan. Patients who battle with dual disorders frequently need longer treatment, experience more emergencies and advance more slowly in treatment than patients who battle just a single disorder.

Psychiatric disorders most prevalent among dually diagnosed patients include personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and anxiety disorders.