Co-occurring Psychiatrists, or rather, co-occurring disorder psychiatrists, are those specialists who concentrate on identifying and diagnosing co-occurring disorders that exist in those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Most commonly, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders are found in those seeking treatment. However, there may be underlying diagnosed physical problems as well – cancer, heart problems, etc. In order for treatment programs for addiction to be successful, all factors must be considered and properly addressed. A patient is considered to have a co-occurring disorder is there is substance addiction and at least one other mental health issue.

When beginning treatment of co-occurring disorders, psychiatrists will conduct a complete physical examination to detect and determine the general health of the patient, and to uncover the impact abuse has had on the body.  Because most candidates for substance abuse therapy report that the physical or psychological factors appear first, and drugs and/or alcohol are used to mitigate their impact, psychiatrists will also complete a battery of psychological tests and evaluations to uncover those factors that may be playing a role in the addiction. Treatment programs that are subsequently developed will address all areas in order to increase the probability that therapy will be successful.

One area that is carefully monitored is the appearance of another disorder to compensate for the changes that are undergone during detoxification and therapy. It is not unusual for depression or anxiety to develop as the individual restarts his or her life. However, reputable treatment facilities recognize this possibility and monitor their patients in order to detect new problems.

During the evaluation process, co-occurring disorder psychiatrists (co-occurring psychiatrists) employ both interviews and testing to evaluate the nature of the addiction and the mental state of the patient. When the findings from all evaluation procedures are combined, mental health professionals are able to create a substance abuse treatment program that addresses all factors that are in play.