Disorders that occur at the same time 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.

The special terms used to describe people with dual disorder has evolved in the same way that the area of addictions and mental disorder treatment has grown and advanced.


Dual disorder and dual diagnosis terms are replaced by the term co-occurring disorders. Even though the terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder are used regularly to refer to the combination of psychological disorders and drug use, these terms are misleading as they can also refer to other combinations of disorders like mental retardation and psychological 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. 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. When a minimum of one disorder of both types can be confirmed which isn't dependent on the other, we can talk about diagnosing co-occurring disorders and it isn't just a bunch of symptoms that are caused by just one disorder.

In this article, the term dual disorders will also be used, even though the term co-occurring disorders is currently utilized among professionals.


Ready to Get Help?

CALL US NOW ON 0800 772 3971


The acronym MICA, which constitutes the phrase Mentally ILL Chemical Abusers, is eventually used to nominate people who have a COD and markedly serious and continued mental disorder like bipolar disorder or 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.

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 even if the focus of this is on dual disorders. The set of ideas which is relevant to dual disorders is as well used for 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. Truly, the seriousness of both disorders can be modified eventually. Degrees of impairment in functioning and disability might also differ.

Thus, there is no single mixture of dual disorders; in fact, there is huge variability among them. Though, patients with combinations of dual disorders that are alike are regularly found in specific treatment environments.


More than half of all adults with serious mental illness are further caused by substance use disorders (abuse or addiction related to alcohol or other 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. They are vulnerable to both COD relapse and a worsening of the psychiatric disorder because they have two 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. This is why relapse prevention should be particularly made for patients having dual disorders. Compared with patients who have a single disorder, patients with dual disorders often have more crises, require longer treatment, and grow more gradually in treatment.

Psychiatric disorders most prevalent among dually diagnosed patients include personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and anxiety disorders.