Co-Occurring Disorders during-rehab


Co-existing conditions which is also referred to as dual diagnosis or dual condition pertains to the existence of more than one medical condition at the same time. 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. 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).

Furthermore, the terms relate that there are only two disorders occurring at the same time, when truly there may be more. People who suffer from co-occurring disorders (COD) have one or more disorders that have to do with mental disorders and one or more disorders that have to do with the use of drugs and/or alcohol. Co-occurring disorders can be diagnosed when a minimum of one disorder of each kind can be verified separate from the other disorder and it's not just a group of symptoms that stem from one of the disorders.

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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For people that suffer from COD, another term is commonly used and it is MICA, which means Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers in cases where patients suffer from an extreme and constant 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. 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).

Combinations of alcohol addiction with panic disorder, major depression with cocaine addiction, borderline personality disorder with episodic polydrug abuse, and alcoholism and polydrug addiction with schizophrenia are some of the most usual cases of co-occurring disorders. Even if the emphasis for this dwells on dual disorders, there are a number of patients who have more than two conditions. Multiple disorders go by the same rules that apply to dual disorders.

Extremity, chronicity, disability and the level of impairment in functioning are some differing extents in which combinations of COD issues and mental disorders vary. As an example, both disorders can be mild or serious or one disorder can be more serious than the other disorder. How severe the disorders are also varies with time and is not constant. Degrees of impairment in functioning as well as disability can also change.

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.


Further damage is inflicted in more than 50 % of all adults that have severe mental disorder as well as substance abuse disorders (abuse or addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs).


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. As they suffer from two disorders, they're at risk of a co-occurring disorder relapse and their mental disorder could also worsen. What's more, an addiction relapse frequently results in psychiatric decompensation and when mental problems worsen it frequently results in addiction relapse. Therefore, preventing a relapse must be consciously devised for those who suffer from dual disorders. 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 which is rampant among patients having dual disorders and can comprise of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and personality disorders.