The relationship between schizophrenia and substance abuse is complex. While some people with schizophrenia also struggle with substance use disorder, others do not use drugs or alcohol at all. And of course, many people with substance use disorders do not have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses. However, when you have a mental health condition like schizophrenia, you may be at a much higher risk of substance abuse. Discover how a Washington schizophrenia program center can help you overcome substance use disorder while managing symptoms of schizophrenia.
At Bayview Recovery, we understand how challenging schizophrenia can be and how substance use disorder can significantly impact this condition. Our schizophrenia treatment program can help with your symptoms while also addressing co-occurring disorders like substance use disorder. Reach out to us at 855.478.3650 to learn how we can simultaneously help you or a loved one overcome these challenges.
The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Schizophrenia
The CDC estimates that nearly 1% of the U.S. population has schizophrenia, and approximately 10% of adults are diagnosed with substance use disorder. Many studies have found that schizophrenia and substance abuse go hand in hand. People with this mental illness are more likely to develop a substance use disorder. Some reasons behind this may be that people with schizophrenia often:
- Turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of their condition
- Use substances to quiet the voices in their heads
- Self-medicate to reduce stress levels caused by their illness
The symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, can be overwhelming and make everyday life incredibly challenging. Antipsychotic medications and therapy can help alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, many people choose drugs or alcohol to manage symptoms on their own. They may not have received a diagnosis for their mental illness, or they may not trust the recommendations of healthcare providers. Part of schizophrenia is a lack of trust in others and fear that people are watching you or out to get you, making treating schizophrenia all the more challenging.
How Substance Abuse Affects Schizophrenia
As with any mental health condition, substance abuse can make things worse. Although the person may temporarily feel better when using drugs or alcohol, their symptoms will often come back with a vengeance once the effects wear off. Additionally, the long-term effects of substance abuse will also exacerbate schizophrenia. Here are some examples of how substance abuse affects schizophrenia:
- Makes symptoms, like paranoia and hallucinations, more intense.
- Increases the frequency of psychotic episodes.
- Elevates the risk of violence or self-harm caused by more severe schizophrenia symptoms.
- Can lead to higher hospitalization and incarceration rates.
When someone has a severe mental illness like schizophrenia, adding substance abuse to the mix can intensify their already challenging symptoms. Delusions and hallucinations become more frequent and severe. As a result, the person begins to behave dangerously to themselves and others. This is why people with addiction and schizophrenia are more likely to be in and out of behavioral health facilities or jail. To help yourself or someone you love with schizophrenia avoid these challenges, reach out for help from your local schizophrenia treatment center.
Heal from Addiction and Schizophrenia at Bayview Recovery
There is a clear association between schizophrenia and substance abuse. However, it is still unclear whether one directly causes the other. Bayview Recovery can help you address the symptoms of both of these conditions so you can get back to living a more satisfying lifestyle. Reach out to us at 855.478.3650 to learn more about how we can help you manage your symptoms and overcome substance use disorder with the help of therapy and medication.