Why Unhealthy Drug and Alcohol Use Often Accompanies Schizophrenia
The links between schizophrenia and drug abuse are a hotly debated topic. A new Danish study casts their net wide and gleams new insight. This can quickly turn into a dependency as the alcohol and schizophrenia quickly Alcoholics going through withdrawal, with no co-occurring disorders, have. Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse. Having schizophrenia puts you at increased risk of using drugs and alcohol in unhealthy ways. Drug and alcohol use can also lead to an earlier presentation of psychotic symptoms, induce psychotic relapse, or increase symptom severity.
Schizophrenia and Alcoholism
The rate of substance abuse among these individuals is higher than in the general populationand drugs and alcohol are often used as a way to cope with the debilitating effects of the disease. Treatment for schizophrenia combined with addiction requires an intensive focus on addressing the symptoms of this serious mental illness, combined with a deep compassion and understanding of the effects of the disease.
Schizophrenia is now seen not as a single neurological condition, but rather a cluster of conditions. Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common form of the disorder. This subtype is characterized by delusional beliefs about being persecuted, threatened, or controlled by other people or by inhuman forces.
Individuals with this type of schizophrenia may obsess over strange conspiracy theories, fear that they are being hunted, or hear voices that tell them to harm themselves or others. They often isolate themselves socially and may be hostile, irritable, or perpetually fearful of others.
Chaotic thought patterns, strange speech, and odd emotional reactions are the hallmarks of disorganized schizophrenia. Hallucinations and delusions are usually less predominant, and bizarre behaviors are more pronounced. People with this form of schizophrenia may have trouble taking care of themselves, holding a job, or interacting normally with others.
Writing, speaking, and other means of self-expression may come across as incomprehensible or extremely eccentric. Individuals who no longer display obvious symptoms of schizophrenia, but who have been affected by the disorder in the past, have residual schizophrenia. Although they may no longer experience profound delusions or hallucinations, people with residual-type schizophrenia may retain less debilitating symptoms of the disease. This subtype refers to individuals who have symptoms of the disorder that cannot be clearly defined according to the other subtypes.
For instance, they may have disorganized speech combined with occasional hallucinations or delusional beliefs, but to a milder degree than individuals who clearly meet the diagnostic criteria.
[Do alcohol or drug abuse induce schizophrenia?].
According to the Indian Journal of PsychiatryBleuler defined schizophrenia as a splitting of the processes involved with emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication. People with schizophrenia may experience the world in ways that are not reflected in their behaviors, and they often lack the ability to communicate those experiences to other people in a way that can be understood. Delusional beliefs, hallucinations, and paranoid fears may make them too frightened to communicate their experiences to others or even to take part in mainstream society.
One of the most obvious warning signs is the presence of psychosis, or experiences that conflict dramatically with reality as experienced by others.
The symptoms of schizophrenia can be loosely categorized according to whether they affect sensory experience, thoughts and learning, or social interaction and communication: Inability to understand or utilize language in comprehensible ways, disorganized thinking, difficulty learning in conventional ways, and false beliefs about grandiose achievements or persecution Behavioral symptoms: Self-isolation and social withdrawal, neglect of personal hygiene, fear of eating or drinking, fear of touching or being touched by other people, pressured speech, lack of motivation, loss of interest in jobs or favorite activities, inability to relate to others in socially accepted ways, wild or unpredictable behavior, and lack of impulse control Emotional symptoms: Individuals who have seemed happy and normal may become increasingly eccentric and odd, displaying incomprehensible behavior and talking in strange ways.
Some of the early signs may include: Bizarre changes in speech or handwriting Sudden loss of interest in favorite activities or friendships Neglect of grooming and hygiene An intense focus on negative or destructive thoughts Isolation from friends and family Loss of ability to control impulses Lack of awareness in the surrounding world A flat facial expression Failure to finish projects or meet commitments Inability to focus on any one topic for very long A complete medical exam and psychiatric evaluation can help to determine whether an individual is suffering from schizophrenia or another neurological disorder.
Because substance abuse is often a side effect of schizophrenia, a person who shows the red flags of serious mental illness should also be evaluated for chemical abuse or dependence.
Among people with schizophrenia, young men and people with lower levels of education are particularly at risk for developing a substance use disorder. Researchers further assert that environmental factors can play a role, as a majority of people with schizophrenia and substance abuse experienced a significant trauma earlier in life.
Article continues below Concerned about Schizophrenia? Take Schizophrenia Quiz Alcohol Abuse Because alcohol is so readily available, it can become easier for people with schizophrenia to develop a dependence on it compared to illegal drugs. Roughly one-third of people with schizophrenia will develop alcohol use disorder at some point in their lives.
Often the alcohol abuse will precede the development of schizophrenia, which suggests that the self-medication theory is not always correct.
Treat Schizophrenia & Alcoholism
Seventy percent of people with schizophrenia have nicotine-dependence, which can make them more likely to experience a relapse of symptoms. People with schizophrenia who smoke are more likely to have hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech and require higher dosages of antipsychotic medications.
They are also more likely to come from low-income communities and have had trauma earlier in life.Schizophrenia & Substance Abuse - Schizophrenia
People may use cocaine to cope with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and feelings of dysphoria. If a person stops substance use without being connected to proper medication and treatment for mental health, they are likely to relapse. And if a person is given mental health treatment without addressing substance abuse, they are unlikely to adhere to treatment.