Understanding Dual Diagnosis: What is the New Term for Co-Occurring Disorders?

Dual diagnosis was first identified in the 1980s as a combination of severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) uses the term co-occurring disorders (COD) to refer to this condition.

Dual diagnosis

is a more general term for two or more conditions that occur in the same person at the same time, whether physical or mental. For example, the presence of heart disease and diabetes could be considered a dual diagnosis.

When it comes to treating individuals with both mental illness and addiction, dual-diagnosis treatment is the term most commonly used. According to an article published in Psychology Today, people with a combination of disorders may experience more serious medical and mental health challenges and may require longer treatment periods. The name is important for medical professionals dealing with these issues, as it helps define the disorder and describe how it might be treated in the future.

Dual diagnosis

(also known as co-occurring disorder) is a term used when someone experiences mental illness and substance use disorder simultaneously.

Because one disorder may mask or intensify the symptoms of the other, it is often difficult to determine which one occurred first and may make it more difficult to diagnose. We have been offering licensed residential treatment for substance abuse, eating disorders and dual diagnosis in Tampa since 1987. For select people, dual diagnosis is a common problem that many face. Although treatment can be complex due to the presence of two conditions, recovery is possible with the appropriate treatment program. If you go to a medical professional and they find two different but related problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease or cancer and diabetes, it will be a dual diagnosis.

This term is almost exclusively used to refer to a mental health problem that occurs as a result of or contributes to a drug or alcohol addiction. Co-occurring disorders are very similar to dual diagnosis, as it usually refers to two or more health problems that occur at the same time. Compare that to co-occurring disorders, in which mental illness led a person to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, or the devastating effects and brain damage that addiction entails led to the development of mental illness. For dual diagnosis, while the ailments discovered could be caused by substance abuse, they are two (or more) completely separate diagnoses. People with mental illness use approximately 38% of all alcohol, 44% of all cocaine, and more than half of all opioid prescriptions in the U. S., making dual diagnosis an important issue for medical professionals.

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