Co-Occurring Disorders during-rehab


Disorders that occur at the same time are referred to as co-occurring, dual diagnosis or dual disorder. For example, an individual may suffer from bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse.

While the scope of treatment for drug dependency and mental conditions has emerged to be rather specific, the same thing goes as well for the terms used to refer to individuals who both have problems with drug dependency and mental conditions.


Terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder have thus been replaced with the term co-occurring disorders. These latter terms, though used commonly to point to the mixture of substance abuse and mental disorders, are confusing in that they also point to other mixtures of disorders (like mental retardation and mental disorders).

Additionally, the terminology may denote of the occurrence of just two disorders simultaneously when as a matter of fact there could be others, too. One or more disorders in the clients with co-occurring disorders (COD) relate to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs of abuse as well as one or more mental disorders. When a minimum of one disorder of both types can be confirmed which isn't dependent on the other, we can talk about diagnosing co-occurring disorders and it isn't just a bunch of symptoms that are caused by just one disorder.

Even if co-existing condition is the latest term being used in the medical field, for this specific article, we will use the term dual disorder reciprocally.


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The acronym MICA (short for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers) is sometimes used to label people with a co-occurring disorder and a noticeably serious and chronic mental disorder like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The most ideal term used is mentally ill chemically affected individuals because the term affected more aptly describes their condition and is not derogatory. Some of the other acronyms are CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness), MISU (mentally ill substance using), MISA (mentally ill substance abusers), SAMI (substance abuse and mental illness), ICO PSD (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders) and MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent).

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 fundamentals that have to do with dual disorders normally also have a bearing on multiple disorders.

The existence of combined co-existing conditions and those of psychiatric disorders can differ in several significant aspects like chronicity, gravity, disability and level of impairment in bodily operations. For instance, each of the two disorders may be serious or mild, or one may be more serious than the other. Truly, the seriousness of both disorders can be modified eventually. Levels of impairment and disability in functioning may also differ.

Therefore, no single combination of dual disorders exists and there's indeed significant lack of consistency amongst these disorders. Specific treatment environments are, however, set up for patients that have alike combinations of dual disorders.


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).


The differences between patients with a mental health disorder or only a co-occurring disorder problem and patients with dual disorders are that the latter frequently suffer more serious and long-lasting medical, emotional and social challenges. They are susceptible, since they have two disorders, to both further impairment of mental disorder and COD relapse. Additionally, dependency relapse most of the time causes psychiatric functional deterioration and worsening of psychiatric difficulties which further results in dependency relapse. This is why relapse prevention should be particularly made for patients having dual disorders. Users with dual disorders commonly need longer rehab, have a greater number of crises and advance more slowly in treatment compared to patients that only have a single disorder.

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