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 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.


Dual disorder and dual diagnosis terms are replaced by the term co-occurring disorders. Even though these replaced terms have usually been used when discussing a mix of mental disorders and substance abuse, they are also referring to other combinations of disorders (like mental disorders and mental retardation), which can sometimes cause confusion.

Furthermore, the terms relate that there are only two disorders occurring at the same time, when truly there may be more. 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. An identification of co-existing condition is made when there is an existence of at least one disorder of each type which is also separate from the other, not just a series of indications stemming from a particular disorder.

In this article, the term dual disorders will also be used, even though the term co-occurring disorders is currently utilized among professionals.


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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 definition of Mentally Ill Chemically Affected people is liked better as "affected" describes their state better and it isn't 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 common types of co-existing conditions consist of the combinations of major depression types associated with cocaine dependency, alcohol dependency along with panic disorder, extreme alcoholism along with polydrug abuse with schizophrenia and as well as borderline personality condition with sporadic polydrug misuse. Some patients have more than two disorders although the article focuses more on dual disorders. The set of ideas which is relevant to dual disorders is as well used for multiple 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. For example, both disorders could be of the same severity or one could be mild while the other is severe. Indeed, the seriousness of both disorders may alter over time. Degree of disability and weakening of bodily functions can as well differ.

That means that, in fact, there are many differentiations among co-occurring disorders, not just one combination. Specific treatment environments are, however, set up for patients that have alike combinations of dual disorders.


Over half of adult individuals having serious mental illness also have drug use disorders which can come in the form of misuse or dependency associated with the use of alcohol and drugs.


Unlike individuals who are diagnosed with mental health disorders or those with alcohol and drug dependency issues alone, those with dual disorders most of the time undergo serious and long lasting medical, emotional and social difficulties. Since they have two disorders, they are at a risk of COD relapse and deterioration of the psychiatric ailment. What's more, an addiction relapse frequently results in psychiatric decompensation and when mental problems worsen it frequently results in addiction relapse. Therefore, the treatment of relapses should be specifically designed for those with dual disorders. Unlike patients who only have one disorder, those with dual disorders would mostly need prolonged treatment, have more difficulties and have slow progress in treatment.

Mental disorders that are most common amongst dually diagnosed people are personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and mood disorders.