Disorders that occur at the same time are referred to as co-occurring, dual diagnosis or dual disorder. For instance, an individual can go through substance dependency while having bipolar disorder, too.
Just like the area of treatment for drug use and psychological disorders has developed to become more exact, the terminology that is employed to describe people who suffer both from psychological disorders and drug use has also become more precise.
The two terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder are replaced by the term, co-occurring disorders. Even though these replaced terms have usually been used when discussing a mix of mental disorders and substance abuse, they are also referring to other combinations of disorders (like mental disorders and mental retardation), which can sometimes cause confusion.
Besides, these terms imply that only two disorders occur at the very same time when in reality there can be more than two disorders. 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. 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.
The acronym MICA (short for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers) is sometimes used to label people with a co-occurring disorder and a noticeably serious and chronic mental disorder like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A better word that is more preferred in terms of its connotation is Mentally Ill Chemically Affected. The other acronyms used are as follows: MIC'D (mentally ill chemically dependent), MISA (mentally ill substance abusers), SAMI (substance abuse and mental illness), MISU (mentally ill substance using), ICON PSD (individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders) and CAMI (chemical abuse and mental illness).
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 mixture of psychiatric disorders and COD problems differ along important dimensions like chronicity, disability, severity, and degree of impairment in functioning. For instance, one disorder can be more extreme than the other, or both can be equally mild or extreme. How severe the disorders are also varies with time and is not constant. Degree of disability and weakening of bodily functions can as well 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. However, certain treatment settings are often encountered for patients with similar mixtures of dual disorders.
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 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. 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.
Personality, psychotic and mood disorders are among some of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders diagnosed in dual patient disorders.