There is a definite link between schizophrenia and substance abuse since people that have schizophrenia have a tendency to abuse alcohol and/or drugs more often than those who do not. This problem can be difficult to treat in an effective manner since certain drugs can reduce the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment for schizophrenia. This is especially true for drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine, marijuana, or PCP. These drugs can also worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Many pieces of research suggest that nearly 50% of patients with schizophrenia have a co-occurring substance use disorder. People that suffer from schizophrenia and substance abuse are much more likely to have the illness more severe than others, have an increased rate of hospitalization, and suffer from infectious illnesses, violence, victimization, homelessness, and overall poor response to pharmacologic treatment.
Many people that have schizophrenia are mistaken for those that abuse drugs for the reason that the two look so much alike. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), long-term drug abuse causes other symptoms that are also found in people with schizophrenia. For instance, people who abuse drugs may show a lack of interest in school, work, and daily life, just like people with schizophrenia.
Some of the similarities that schizophrenia and drug abuse share are poor hygiene, inability to think clearly or speak effectively, restlessness, paranoia, and depression. This is because both schizophrenia and drug abuse affect the perception of reality. Schizophrenia and substance abuse can cause disorganized thinking and make it hard to communicate thoughts to others.
People with schizophrenia and those who suffer from substance abuse often find it hard to hold down a job, maintain a relationship or have a family. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia affects both men and women, and it usually reveals itself for the first time in teenagers or younger adults under the age of 30.
People who suffer from this condition are often feared and ostracized by society. Because of this, schizophrenics are at risk of substance abuse, homelessness, chronic unemployment, incarceration and violence. Schizophrenics face many complications to treatment too.
Unfortunately, those with schizophrenia usually have low rates of compliance with treatment plans because they have trouble concentrating during counseling sessions. There is often a lack of access to affordable rehabilitation facilities and even low motivation to continue on with therapy.
However, when a substance abuse treatment center understands how to successfully treat co-occurring disorders, the chances of substance abuse recovery turn out to be much higher. A professional treatment center should deliver an integrated treatment program that addresses both the symptoms of schizophrenia and the behaviors associated with substance abuse are addressed at the same time for the best chance of substance abuse recovery.
If you suspect that someone in your family, as well as friends, are showing even the mild signs of schizophrenia, you must not wait for the signs to be more obvious. In that case, the situation will go from bad to worse.