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. Someone might have a problem with substance abuse along with bipolar disorder, for instance.

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.


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).

The terms are also misleading in that they only cover two disorders occurring at the same time which is not the case as two or more can occur at the same time. 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. 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.

Dual disorder is used interchangeably in this article to refer to co-occurring disorders although the latter is the most recent development in the lingo as used in the medical field.


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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).

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. Some patients have more than two disorders even if the focus of this is on dual disorders. Multiple disorders are usually based on the same principles that can be used when talking about dual 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. Indeed, the seriousness of both disorders may alter over time. Levels of impairment and disability in functioning may also differ.

Therefore, there isn't a specific combination of dual disorders; in reality, there's a big difference among these. This is not to rule out the fact that one can come across patients who have the same combination of disorders in the course of treatment.


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).


Patients with dual disorders go through much more emotional, social and chronic medical problems in comparison to patients who only have a mental health disorder or a co-occurring disorder caused by substance abuse or dependence only. Since they have two disorders, they are at a risk of COD relapse and deterioration of the psychiatric ailment. Also, a cycle is likely where once there is a relapse in addiction recovery, the patient becomes more prone to a psychiatric worsening which makes it much easier to relapse into an addiction. Therefore, the treatment of relapses should be specifically designed for those with dual disorders. Dual disorder patients often need longer periods of treatment, have more crises and progress slowly in treatment in comparison to patients who have a single disorder.

Mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders and anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental disorders present among patients that suffer from co-occurring disorders.