As mental illness continues to be a major global concern, recent studies have attempted to investigate the correlation between schizophrenia and substance abuse. Many have suggested that those with schizophrenia have an increased risk of developing an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both. Thus, exploring the relationship between schizophrenia and substance abuse can help to better understand both mental health and addiction.
The Prevalence of Substance Abuse in Schizophrenia
Recent studies estimate that up to 75% of people with schizophrenia also struggle with some form of substance abuse. While the exact cause of this co-occurring disorder is yet to be determined, some researchers suggest that people with schizophrenia may use drugs or alcohol to cope with the symptoms of their illness. Additionally, those with schizophrenia often interact with the same social circles as those with addiction, increasing their access to drugs and alcohol.
The Impact of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse on Health
The combination of mental illness and substance abuse can have an adverse effect on overall health. People with schizophrenia and an addiction may be at a higher risk of developing physical and mental health issues as a result of their dual diagnosis. Additionally, schizophrenia and addiction can cause risks for suicide and accidental overdose. As a result, a dual diagnosis requires professional treatment from qualified mental health and addiction specialists.
Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction
Treating mental illness and addiction at the same time can be a long and difficult process. First, an individual must make major changes in lifestyle and behavior, both of which can be difficult when living with schizophrenia. A patient should also seek professional counseling or psychotherapy as part of their treatment program in order to cope with the mental aspects of their illness. Additionally, medication may be needed to help with both mental illness and addiction.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the link between schizophrenia and substance abuse is essential to helping those at risk of developing an addiction. Through professional treatment and lifestyle changes, individuals with schizophrenia and addiction can make progress in their recovery and improve their overall health.
Schizophrenia, Substance Abuse, Mental Illness, Addiction, Dual Diagnosis, Treatment, Psychotherapy, Medication