Disorders that occur at the same time are referred to as co-occurring, dual diagnosis or dual disorder. For example, an individual may suffer from bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse.
The terminology that is utilized to describe patients with both substance abuse and psychological disorders has developed to be more accurate, just like the field of treatment for both of them.
The term co-occurring actually takes the place of the terms dual disorder and dual diagnosis. 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. 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.
In this article, the term dual disorders will also be used, even though the term co-occurring disorders is currently utilized among professionals.
For people that suffer from COD, another term is commonly used and it is MICA, which means Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers in cases where patients suffer from an extreme and constant 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 include SAMI (Substance abuse and mental illness), MISA (mentally ill substance abusers), MISU (mentally ill substance using), CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness), ICO PSD (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders) and MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent).
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. Even if the emphasis for this dwells on dual disorders, there are a number of patients who have more than two conditions. The fundamentals that have to do with dual disorders normally also have a bearing on multiple disorders.
The severity, degree of impairment in functioning, chronicity and disability are some of the factors that differ in the occurrence of combinations of psychiatric disorders alongside substance abuse problems. For instance, one disorder can be more extreme than the other, or both can be equally mild or extreme. In fact the seriousness of both disorders can alter as time passes. Levels of impairment and disability in functioning may also differ.
Therefore, it is important to note that there is no single combination of co-occurring disorders; they actually vary depending on the mentioned factors. Though, patients with combinations of dual disorders that are alike are regularly found in specific treatment environments.
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).
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 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. Therefore, the treatment of relapses should be specifically designed for those with dual disorders. 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.
Mental disorders that are most common amongst dually diagnosed people are personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and mood disorders.