Common Co-Occurring Disorders

March 26, 2012 — 1,613 views  
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Social workers may find that while some of the clients they work with will have easily identifiable mental health conditions, it may be less easy to tell when these individuals have disorders supplementing their obvious issues. It's essential, then, to know which conditions are most likely to feature significant co-occurring disorders.

According to information compiled by researchers working in conjunction with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), those diagnosed with personality disorders are particularly likely to have co-occurring disorders. As an example, a person suffering from borderline or antisocial personality disorder would commonly also have an anxiety, mood or impulse control disorders. These co-occurring conditions range in severity from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to chronic depression.

The same reasoning is applicable to primary conditions not quite as severe as antisocial personality disorder, including bipolar disorder. This mental illness is oft accompanied by ADHD and anxiety or panic disorder. Finally, according to the Mayo Clinic, co-occurring disorders are quite prevalent in substance abusers. These range from the physical symptoms that come as part of withdrawal to mental disorders including depression, anxiety and delusions.

At the NIMH's seventh meeting of the Alliance for Research Progress in 2007, major mental health figures stated that co-occurring disorders should be treated simultaneously in order for the afflicted individuals' care to have the best possible results.