Many individuals that suffer from mental illness also struggle with substance use. Schizophrenia is one example of a mental health disorder that is often co-occurring. Because chronic drug use often turns into drug addiction, individuals that struggle with schizophrenia and drug use often develop a dual diagnosis. Individuals that simultaneously suffer from both need to attend a dual diagnosis treatment center. Our dual diagnosis treatment centers in California treat both schizophrenia and addiction.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that’s characterized by irrational and delusional thinking. This makes it difficult to distinguish between reality and non-reality. This is partly due to the fact that individuals with schizophrenia may hear voices and see things that don’t exist.
Because people with schizophrenia struggle to make a distinction between reality and non-reality, they are often ostracized from society. Such ostracization often causes individuals with schizophrenia to use substances to cope.
Schizophrenia and drug use often turn into schizophrenia and addiction. To effectively treat schizophrenia and a co-occurring substance use disorder, one must attend dual diagnosis treatment such as our centers in California.
Causes of Schizophrenia
Although the exact cause of schizophrenia is still unknown, there are many risk factors that can contribute to its development. The following are common risk factors:
People’s genetic makeup is often part of the reason why they develop mental health disorders. Thus, if schizophrenia runs in a person’s family, he or she has a stronger chance of later developing the disorder than most.
Structural or Chemical Changes in the Brain
Oftentimes, structural and chemical changes in the brain can cause people to exhibit schizophrenic behaviors. This is because such structural and chemical changes affect the way the brain functions and, in turn, how the brain balances a person’s emotions. Structural and chemical changes in the brain can also affect how people may perceive the world around them.
Pregnancy or Birth Complications
When women experience complications during pregnancy or birth, the likelihood of their newborn children developing schizophrenia greatly increases. Women that suffer from schizophrenia are also more likely to have issues when giving birth.
Many people that experience trauma early on in their lives repress it. Not properly dealing with childhood trauma though can lead to changes in the brain that cause people to develop mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Previous Drug Use
Chronic drug use often causes structural and chemical changes in the brain. Structural and chemical changes in the brain can lead to the development of schizophrenic behaviors. Thus, it makes sense that previous drug use is also a risk factor for addiction. The fact that previous drug use is a common cause of schizophrenia also shows why schizophrenia and addiction commonly co-occur.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia
There are numerous signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. Many of these signs and symptoms are hard to detect. Therefore, it’s important to have knowledge about what these indicators might be. Common ones are described below.
Many people that suffer from schizophrenia often become overly flustered and confused. This is partly due to the fact that they have a warped perception of reality.
Many people with schizophrenia are anxious as their skewed view of the world causes trust issues. The fact that people with schizophrenia often hear voices and experience hallucinations only adds to the anxiety that they feel each and every day.
Those with schizophrenia are anxious about the whereabouts and intentions of others, leading to paranoia. This heightened level of paranoia also often causes them to think that innocent people are betraying them or out to get them.
Loss of Interest in Activities
It is common to lose touch with activities that were enjoyed prior to developing mental illness. Not taking part in normal recreational activities causes people with schizophrenia to become further separated from society.
Poor Communication Skills
Due to disorganized thinking, a lack of eye contact, and the inability to focus, it is hard for those with schizophrenia to communicate effectively. Additionally, they sometimes stop responding with anticipated facial expressions, making it hard for others to read their reaction or mood.
Disorganized or Abnormal Motor Behavior
Another common symptom of schizophrenia is excessive fidgeting and movement of the body along with exhibiting odd and inappropriate posture.
People with hallucinations see and hear things that don’t exist. Hallucinations are one of the most characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia. It’s more common for people with schizophrenia to hear things that don’t exist than it is to see things that don’t exist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help individuals with schizophrenia and addiction manage the voices in their heads so that they can function in society.
Delusions are false beliefs that aren’t placed in reality. For example, people with schizophrenia may falsely believe that they have past personal relationships with strangers.
Can Drug Use Cause Schizophrenia?
As stated in a study conducted by PLOS Medicine, about 15.2 persons per every 100,000 battles schizophrenia. Another study reports that 165 million Americans abuse drugs and alcohol. Given these high numbers, it is no surprise that schizophrenia and drug addiction commonly co-occur. Those with schizophrenia are actually four times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those without the disorder. As a result, almost 50% of schizophrenics struggle with drug or alcohol addiction.
Due to this link, many people believe that drug use can cause schizophrenia. Though it is not a direct cause, overusing substances can increase the risk of developing several mental health disorders, including schizophrenia. These individuals are usually already susceptible to schizophrenia due to genetic and environmental factors. Drugs that have been found to contribute to the triggering of symptoms of schizophrenia include:
Additionally, drug use can aggravate the symptoms of schizophrenia, making them more severe. This can drastically worsen a person’s state of mind and overall wellbeing. People that suffer from schizophrenia and addiction are more likely to stop taking their schizophrenia medications. People that suffer from schizophrenia and addiction are also less likely to seek out any form of schizophrenia or addiction treatment.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Schizophrenia and Addiction
Dual diagnosis treatment for schizophrenia and addiction uses different forms of therapy to help treat both disorders simultaneously. Treating them both at the same time gives an individual a better chance at a successful recovery as the two conditions aggravate one another.
One form of therapy that people often receive during dual diagnosis treatment for schizophrenia and addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This is because CBT helps people with schizophrenia change their unrealistic thoughts and beliefs into realistic ones. CBT also helps people with substance use disorders manage their addiction triggers by changing their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into positive ones.
Begin Treating Schizophrenia at Our Treatment Centers in California
It’s time to stop suffering and start living. Facing both schizophrenia and addiction on a daily basis can make you feel hopeless, but don’t worry, help is available. At Phoenix Rising Recovery, we strive to get you the dual diagnosis treatment you deserve. Our effective therapies and compassionate staff are ready to help you every step of the way. To start treating schizophrenia & addiction at our California treatment centers, call or use our contact form right now.