Co-Occurring Disorders during-rehab


Co-occurring disorders (previously called dual disorder or dual diagnosis) describe the existence of two or more than two disorders at the very same point in time. For instance, an individual can go through substance dependency while having bipolar disorder, too.

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 term co-occurring actually takes the place of the terms dual disorder and dual diagnosis. The said terms although usually used to refer to both drug and mental disorders as accompanying conditions, it can be easily misconstrued since they may also mean the combination of other health conditions like mental ailment or mental delay.

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. 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.

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


Ready to Get Help?

CALL US NOW ON 0800 772 3971


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. Mentally ill chemically affected people is the phrase that is preferred because the word affected is not pejorative and it designates their condition in a better way. Other acronyms are ICOPS (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders), SAMI (substance abuse and mental illness), MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent) CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness), MISU (mentally ill substance using), and MISA (mentally ill substance abusers).

Borderline personality disorder with periodic polydrug abuse, alcoholism and polydrug addiction alongside schizophrenia, cocaine addiction alongside major depression are some of the most common or popular examples of co-occurring disorders. Whilst the theme of this relates to dual disorders, a few patients suffer from three or even more disorders. The set of ideas which is relevant to dual disorders is as well used for multiple disorders.

The severity, degree of impairment in functioning, chronicity and disability are some of the factors that differ in the occurrence of combinations of psychiatric disorders alongside substance abuse problems. For instance, one disorder can be more extreme than the other, or both can be equally mild or extreme. In fact the seriousness of both disorders can alter as time passes. Degrees of impairment in functioning and disability might also differ.

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.


More than half of all adults with serious mental illness are further caused by substance use disorders (abuse or addiction related to alcohol or other 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. As they suffer from two disorders, they're at risk of a co-occurring disorder relapse and their mental disorder could also worsen. Also, impairment of mental issues many times lead to dependency relapse and addiction relapse commonly leads to further mental deterioration. 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 most prevalent among dually diagnosed patients include personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and anxiety disorders.