A co-occurring disorder, formerly known as dual diagnosis, is the co-existence of one or more mental health disorders alongside substance abuse disorders.
The term “dual” in dual diagnosis refers to the two co-occurring disorders, but often individuals may have more than two substance abuse or mental health disorders simultaneously.
Because of this, the term “dual diagnosis” was changed to “co-occurring.”
The signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders vary depending upon the specific mental health disorder and drug of choice.
For example, if an individual is struggling with marijuana abuse and schizophrenia, the signs and symptoms of these disorders will be drastically different than those of an individual who is struggling with a cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder.
In general, individuals who are living with co-occurring disorders find functioning on a day-to-day basis to be significantly difficult, if not impossible. Many will struggle with the following:
Treatment for co-occurring disorders aims at treating both the mental health disorder, and the substance abuse disorder with an integrative approach, including:
The following are psychotherapy approaches used to treat co-occurring disorders: