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, a person may not only suffer from bipolar disorder but from substance abuse 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.
Dual disorder and dual diagnosis terms are replaced by the term co-occurring disorders. These latter terms, though used commonly to point to the mixture of substance abuse and mental disorders, are confusing in that they also point to other mixtures of disorders (like mental retardation and mental disorders).
Also, there can be more than just two disorders present, while these terms are implying otherwise. 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. Co-occurring disorders can be diagnosed when a minimum of one disorder of each kind can be verified separate from the other disorder and it's not just a group of symptoms that stem from one of the disorders.
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, 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. The most ideal term used is mentally ill chemically affected individuals because the term affected more aptly describes their condition and is not derogatory. 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.
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. The set of ideas which is relevant to dual disorders is as well used for 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. However, with time, the extremity of both disorders might change. 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. This is not to rule out the fact that one can come across patients who have the same combination of disorders in the course of treatment.
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.
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. What's more, an addiction relapse frequently results in psychiatric decompensation and when mental problems worsen it frequently results in addiction relapse. Thus, for patients with dual disorders relapse prevention must be specially designed. Users with dual disorders commonly need longer rehab, have a greater number of crises and advance more slowly in treatment compared to patients that only have a single disorder.
Psychiatric disorders most prevalent among dually diagnosed patients include personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and anxiety disorders.