Co-Occurring Disorders Formerly was known as the dual disorder or dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders explain the existence of two or more disorders at the same time. For example, an individual may suffer from bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse.
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. The terms being replaced may be misleading as they also refer to mental disorders and mental retardation occurring together in addition to their popular reference to a combination of substance abuse and mental disorders.
Besides, these terms imply that only two disorders occur at the very same time when in reality there can be more than two disorders. 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. In order to get a co-occurring diagnosis, at least one disorder of each type has to be established and traced to be independent and not just a combination of symptoms springing from one disorder but manifesting as independent.
Even if co-existing condition is the latest term being used in the medical field, for this specific article, we will use the term dual disorder reciprocally.
The acronym MICA (short for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers) is sometimes used to label people with a co-occurring disorder and a noticeably serious and chronic mental disorder like 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).
Some typical examples of co-occurring disorders are the combinations of cocaine addiction with major depression, occasional polydrug abuse with borderline personality disorder, panic disorder with alcohol addiction and polydrug addiction and alcoholism with schizophrenia. Some patients have more than two disorders although the article focuses more on dual 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. As an example, both disorders can be mild or serious or one disorder can be more serious than the other disorder. 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, 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.
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).
Compared patients who have a COD use problem alone or a mental health disorder, and more serious and chronic medical, social and emotional problems are often experienced by the patients with dual disorders. They are susceptible, since they have two disorders, to both further impairment of mental disorder and COD relapse. Also, impairment of mental issues many times lead to dependency relapse and addiction relapse commonly leads to further mental deterioration. That means that patients with co-occurring disorders require a specific relapse prevention plan. 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.
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.