Schizophrenia is a mental condition that affects your ability to feel, behave, and think clearly, ultimately affecting every aspect of your life. Today, the disease affects millions of people worldwide. When schizophrenia co-occurs with drug addiction, it can be more detrimental to your health. Oceanfront Recovery can help you understand schizophrenia, its symptoms, and look at the existing connections between schizophrenia and drug addiction.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Doctors usually categorize schizophrenia as a form of psychosis. It is a mental health disorder that causes delusional or irrational thinking. A person suffering from this illness is unable to differentiate their thoughts from reality. The condition ultimately changes how they think and act.
It can occur regardless of race, gender, age, family history, or social status. It is a bit more common in males, and its onset often occurs during early adulthood or adolescent years. Its development is ordinarily gradual, making diagnosis difficult since its symptoms are sometimes confused for typical adolescent behavior.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
While it can be challenging to diagnose, some symptoms could point to the existence of the disorder. Though these symptoms could be brought about by other conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical attention should their occurrence become more regular. Some of the symptoms are such as:
- Hallucinations that cause a person to either see or hear things that are not there
- The presence of delusions, or unusual beliefs, that are often far from reality
- Difficulty keeping track of your thoughts
- Reduced attention span or lack of interest
Most often, those that have schizophrenia do not believe they need help. This makes treatment harder and can sometimes be why people with the illness opt to abuse substances to cope.
Schizophrenia and Drug Addiction
Schizophrenia and drug addiction can co-occur. The co-occurrence often begins with the diagnosis of the illness first, with drug abuse following after. A comparison with the general public found that those with schizophrenia are more likely to be diagnosed with addiction. This is because it is common for people dealing with schizophrenia to use substances to handle their symptoms.
Drug abuse can sometimes precede mental disorders. Almost half of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia were found to have abused substances in the past. Though drug abuse cannot directly cause the illness, it can be an environmental trigger. Those with prior risk factors can develop schizophrenia after an extended abuse of substances.
Additionally, some of the substances commonly abused tend to pose higher mental health risks than others. For instance, drugs like alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, and cocaine, tend to worsen the severity of schizophrenic symptoms. Prolonged use of cannabis has been found to contribute to schizophrenia. This is due to the interaction between the brain’s chemicals and those found in cannabis.
While there is a connection between the two, a person battling addiction who displays schizophrenic symptoms doesn’t necessarily have schizophrenia. Several symptoms of addiction can mimic those of mental health disorders. While this makes diagnosing co-occurring disorders difficult, research is still being done to ensure more accuracy when it comes to dual diagnosis treatment.
Schizophrenia and Addiction Treatment at Oceanfront Recovery
Schizophrenia and drug addiction treatment programs treat mental disorders and addiction simultaneously. Detox is always the first step. Once the patient is free of any substance, their schizophrenic symptoms are assessed, and a treatment course determined. At Oceanfront Recovery, we focus on treating the mind and the body in unison through one-on-one care, and regular counseling and therapy. This wholesome approach provides our clients with the best recovery chances. Get in touch with Oceanfront Recovery at (877) 296-7477 to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program.