Mental disorders and substance use problems often co-occur. The term Co-occurring Disorders is used commonly to describe an individual having a combination of one or more substance abuse disorders and one or more psychiatric disorders at the same time although they can also refer to other combinations of disorders such as mental disorders and mental retardation. While it is estimated that approximately 8.9 million adults have Co-occurring Disorders, they frequently go undiagnosed and untreated. Some examples of co-occurring disorders include depression and alcoholism, panic disorder with drug dependency or any number of other substance abuse and mental disorder combinations.
It is important that individuals with co-occurring disorders seek treatment for both their mental disorders and substance abuse issues because symptoms of each disorder can affect symptoms of the other disorder and interfere with recovery, quality of life and lead to relapse.
I was one of the first clinicians in the State of New York that recognized the phenomenon of co-occurring disorders. When I started one of the first programs for patients with psychiatric disorders and addictive disorders, we referred to the phenomenon as MICA – Mentally Ill Chemical Abuser.
As my career went on to become the Clinical Director of Choices at Four Winds Hospital, I began to do more and more research and realized that the “MICA” phenomenon was much more complicated. Thus, I helped the movement to evolve into what is known today as co-occurring disorders , and by the time I became a Division Director at the Westchester Division of New York Hospital, Cornell University, and designed the internationally recognized Retreat at Westchester, I had honed my clinical skills to understand the subtle differences of those with major psychiatric disorders and addiction, as well as personality disorders and addiction, and all the combinations and permutations of these disease entities.
For private consultation with Dr. Stratyner, call (610) 743-6190.
For interviews with Dr. Stratyner contact Fred Yaeger (914) 525-9198.