Co-Occurring disorders are present when there are two or more disorders at the same moment and these disorders were also called dual diagnosis or dual disorder. For instance, an individual can go through substance dependency while having bipolar disorder, 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.
The two terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder are replaced by 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.
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 who have coexisting conditions can have one or more conditions associated with alcohol or drug dependency and also one or more mental condition. 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.
Dual disorder is used interchangeably in this article to refer to co-occurring disorders although the latter is the most recent development in the lingo as used in the medical field.
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. 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).
Common examples of co-occurring disorders include the 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. 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.
Extremity, chronicity, disability and the level of impairment in functioning are some differing extents in which combinations of COD issues and mental disorders vary. For instance, one disorder can be more extreme than the other, or both can be equally mild or extreme. Indeed, the seriousness of both disorders may alter over time. Other factors that may also vary include the level or degree of disability or impairment in day to day functions.
Therefore, no single combination of dual disorders exists and there's indeed significant lack of consistency amongst these disorders. Although patients with the same combination of dual disorders most of the time are met in some treatment programmes.
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. The severity of their condition makes them more prone to COD relapses as well as to worsening of their mental health disorders. Also, a cycle is likely where once there is a relapse in addiction recovery, the patient becomes more prone to a psychiatric worsening which makes it much easier to relapse into an addiction. Therefore, the treatment of relapses should be specifically designed for those with dual disorders. Unlike patients who only have one disorder, those with dual disorders would mostly need prolonged treatment, have more difficulties and have slow progress in treatment.
Psychiatric disorders which is rampant among patients having dual disorders and can comprise of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and personality disorders.