Addiction Treatment

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

The term “Co-Occurring Disorders” refers to someone having substance abuse disorder(s) and mental disorder(s) at the same time. The term “Dual Diagnosis” is also used to refer to these co-morbid conditions.

How common are Co-Occurring Disorders?

  • TheNational Alliance on Mental Illnesscites the following data (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association) on the prevalence of co-occurring disorders:
  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
  • Thirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.
  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.

The best data available on the prevalence of co-occurring disorders are derived from two major surveys: the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Survey (administered 1980-1984), and the National Co-morbidity Survey (NCS), administered between 1990 and 1992.

  • 42.7 percent of individuals with a 12-month addictive disorder had at least one 12-month mental disorder.
  • 14.7 percent of individuals with a 12-month mental disorder had at least one 12-month addictive disorder.

What to look for in Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

  • According to Drake, et al. (2001),the critical components of integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders include:
  • Stage-wise interventions that meet the patients where they are.
  • Intensive Case Management that also includes, when needed, Assertive Outreach to help patients gain access to needed services.
  • Motivational Interventions that help patients identify their goals and develop the skills to move toward these goals.
  • Counseling, including individual and group therapy promoting cognitive and behavioral skills.
  • Social Support Interventionsthat recognize the importance of the patient’s community in supporting recovery.
  • Long term perspective, recognizing that recovery takes place over months or years.
  • Comprehensiveness, taking into account all dimensions of the patient’s life.
  • Cultural Competence and Sensitivity, with services tailored to particular cultural needs.

CNS is proud that our Integrated Aftercare Program for Co-Occurring Disorders includes each of these critical components, providing state-of-the-art aftercare for dual diagnosis patients.