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, a person may not only suffer from bipolar disorder but from substance abuse too.

Just as the field of treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders has developed to become more accurate, so too has the terminology used to narrate people with both substance use and mental disorders.


Terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder have thus been replaced with 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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Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers in which the acronym MICA is derived from is sometimes used to describe individuals who have co-existing conditions and an evidently serious and stubborn mental condition like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A preferred definition is mentally ill chemically affected people since their condition is better described by the word affected 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).

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. Whilst the theme of this relates to dual disorders, a few patients suffer from three or even more disorders. The concept that applies to dual disorders normally applies also to multiple disorders.

The mixture of psychiatric disorders and COD problems differ along important dimensions like chronicity, disability, severity, and degree of impairment in functioning. For instance, each of the two disorders may be serious or mild, or one may be more serious than the other. How severe the disorders are also varies with time and is not constant. Degree of disability and weakening of bodily functions can as well differ.

Therefore, no single combination of dual disorders exists and there's indeed significant lack of consistency amongst these disorders. Though, patients with combinations of dual disorders that are alike are regularly found in specific treatment environments.


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.


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 vulnerable to both COD relapse and a worsening of the psychiatric disorder because they have two disorders. 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. 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.