What is a co-occurring disorder?


Co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, refers to the existence of both a substance use disorder (alcohol or other drug addiction) and a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders may include depression or bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others.

As many as 65% of people with alcohol and other drug addictions suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders.

Dual Diagnosis: Suffering From Mental Health Issues and Addiction

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis describes when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either one—substance use or mental illness—can develop first. People experiencing a mental health condition may turn to alcohol or other drugs as a form of self-medication to improve the mental health symptoms they experience. However, research shows that alcohol and other drugs worsen the symptoms of mental illnesses.