Disorders that occur at the same time are referred to as co-occurring, dual diagnosis or dual disorder. 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 two terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder 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.
Furthermore, the terms relate that there are only two disorders occurring at the same time, when truly there may be more. 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.
For the purposes of this article, we will use the dual disorders term interchangeably even if the co-occurring disorder is the most current term used professionally.
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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 preferred definition is mentally ill chemically affected people since their condition is better described by the word affected and is not derogatory. Other acronyms are ICOPS (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders), SAMI (substance abuse and mental illness), MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent) CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness), MISU (mentally ill substance using), and MISA (mentally ill substance abusers).
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. For instance, in the event if having two disorders, one may be either serious or mild or that one may be more serious than the other. Indeed, the seriousness of both disorders may alter over time. Degrees of impairment in functioning as well as disability can also change.
That means that, in fact, there are many differentiations among co-occurring disorders, not just one combination. Though, patients with combinations of dual disorders that are alike are regularly found in specific treatment environments.
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.
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. As they suffer from two disorders, they're at risk of a co-occurring disorder relapse and their mental disorder could also worsen. Further, worsening of psychiatric problems often leads to addiction relapse and addiction relapse often leads to psychiatric decompensation. Thus, for patients with dual disorders relapse prevention must be specially designed. 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.
Mental disorders that are most common amongst dually diagnosed people are personality disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and mood disorders.