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Co-Occurring Disorders

Updated: Jun 23

Clients said to have co-occurring disorders have one or more disorders relating to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs of abuse as well as one or more mental disorders. A diagnosis of co-occurring disorders (COD) occurs when at least one disorder of each type can be established independent of the other and is not simply a cluster of symptoms resulting from the one disorder. Many may think of the typical person with COD as having a severe mental disorder combined with a severe substance use disorder, such as schizophrenia combined with alcohol dependence. However, counselors working in addiction agencies are more likely to see persons with severe addiction combined with mild- to moderate-severity mental disorders; an example would be a person with alcohol dependence combined with a depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder. Efforts to provide treatment that will meet the unique needs of people with COD have gained momentum over the past 2 decades in both substance abuse treatment and mental health services settings. (TIP 42, Substance use disorder treatment for Persons wit ha Co-Occurring Disorder, pg xvii)

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