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 instance, a person may not only suffer from bipolar disorder but from substance abuse 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 terms dual disorder or dual diagnosis are replaced by the term co-occurring disorders. 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.
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. Patients with co-occurring disorders (COD) have one or more mental disorders, as well as one or more disorders that are related to the substance abuse. 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.
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 better word that is more preferred in terms of its connotation is Mentally Ill Chemically Affected. Other acronyms that are used to refer to people with COD are CAMI, Chemical Abuse and Mental Illness; MIC'D, Mentally Ill Chemically Dependent; MISA, Mentally Ill Substance Abusers; MISU, Mentally Ill Substance Using; Sami, Substance Abuse and Mental Illness and ICO PSD, Individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders.
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. Some people might have more than two disorders, even though the cornerstone of this is on dual disorders. The concept that applies to dual disorders normally applies also to multiple 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. As an example, both disorders can be mild or serious or one disorder can be more serious than the other disorder. However, with time, the extremity of both disorders might change. 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. Though, patients with combinations of dual disorders that are alike are regularly found in specific treatment environments.
Further impairment to adults who face severe mental disorders as a result of substance abuse or dependence such as alcohol or other drugs is common.
Patients that have co-occurring disorders commonly feel stronger and chronic medical, emotional and social issues compared to those that only have a mental disorder or COD without the other. The severity of their condition makes them more prone to COD relapses as well as to worsening of their mental health disorders. Additionally, dependency relapse most of the time causes psychiatric functional deterioration and worsening of psychiatric difficulties which further results in dependency relapse. That means that patients with co-occurring disorders require a specific relapse prevention plan. 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.
Mental disorders that are most common amongst dually diagnosed people are personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and mood disorders.