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

Just like the area of treatment for drug use and psychological disorders has developed to become more exact, the terminology that is employed to describe people who suffer both from psychological disorders and drug use has also become more precise.


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.

Additionally, the terminology may denote of the occurrence of just two disorders simultaneously when as a matter of fact there could be others, too. 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. 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.

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.


Ready to Get Help?

CALL US NOW ON 0800 246 1509


Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers, MICA, is used to refer to people who have a co-occurring disorder and a very serious mental disorder such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A better word that is more preferred in terms of its connotation is Mentally Ill Chemically Affected. 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 although the article focuses more on dual disorders. Multiple disorders are usually based on the same principles that can be used when talking about dual disorders.

Combinations of mental disorders and co-occurring problems differ across crucial aspects like seriousness, level of impairment in functioning, duration and disability. For instance, in the event if having two disorders, one may be either serious or mild or that one may be more serious than the other. How severe the disorders are also varies with time and is not constant. Levels of impairment and disability in functioning may also differ.

Therefore, it is important to note that there is no single combination of co-occurring disorders; they actually vary depending on the mentioned factors. 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.


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. As they suffer from two disorders, they're at risk of a co-occurring disorder relapse and their mental disorder could also worsen. Further, worsening of psychiatric problems often leads to addiction relapse and addiction relapse often leads to psychiatric decompensation. Therefore, the treatment of relapses should be specifically designed for those with 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.