Schizophrenia and Drug Abuse: What Can You Do?

Schizophrenia and Drug Abuse: What Can You Do?

Mental delusion, hallucinations, and loss of emotional expressiveness are some of the signs of schizophrenia. It is the most misunderstood and difficult brain disorder associated with psychotic episodes and disillusionment. Schizophrenic people most often exhibit wild behavior as a reaction to their bizarre perversion of reality.

Schizophrenia belongs to a group of psychological illnesses known as psychotic disorders. Addicted people can develop the same symptoms similar to schizophrenia. With schizophrenic people who tend towards drug addiction, the symptoms aggravate and can lead to its onset.

When you or your loved one suffers from this comorbid condition, dual diagnosis treatment is the only way to catch the problem at its roots. The disorder and the addiction are treated simultaneously to prevent the damaging effects to the brain and body.

The Relation Between Schizophrenia and Addiction

Studies have shown that people with a mental disorder use drugs and alcohol to make themselves feel better or different. Just like any other people without a co-occurring condition, they turn to drugs for various reasons.

Reasons such as to feel different, to belong to a group, or to relax and have fun are all part of the escapes people use to get away with their addiction. Though the relationship between schizophrenia and addiction may be to lessen the severity of the symptoms, people with this condition are unaware of the harmful effects of its consequence.

Certain psychological factors such as the living environment, education, relationship, and employment all contribute to a schizophrenic’s addictive tendencies. Additionally, people who have a co-occurring condition have lower resistance to certain addictive substances.

Addiction to certain substances also causes or triggers symptoms of schizophrenia. Long exposure to marijuana can cause short-term psychosis and people suffering from schizophrenia have greater susceptibility to substance addiction. Genetically predisposed schizophrenics also accelerate the onset of the illness with their exposure to psychotropic drugs such as LSD.

Helpful Treatment Options and Recovery

The only way people can recover from this co-occurring condition is through integrative dual diagnosis treatment. The complex and combining problems of schizophrenia and addiction are treated in a way that incorporates both addiction and the mental illness in one program.

Such treatment options can be helpful for addicts who are hesitant to undergo treatment or come forward to seek help. Integrative treatment also goes beyond removing the symptoms of schizophrenia and addiction. It targets important aspects of an individual promoting sobriety, confidence, social support, and the possibility of having a more rewarding life.

A consolidation of integrative and psychological services to dual diagnosis treatment creates motivation amongst schizophrenics. This engages them in the therapies all through the course of the treatment. The symptoms of both schizophrenia and addiction are mitigated giving a patient time to focus on his progress towards recovery.

Although recovery from schizophrenia is more challenging with people who have an addiction than those who does not, it is not hopeless. Recovery can take time and a relapse can be caused by drug use. When this happens, support is needed and reintegration to an integrative treatment for mental health and substance abuse problem is crucial.

A relapse happens when a recovering addict re-experiences the symptoms related to his disorder. A schizophrenic relapse means a person experiencing manifestations of psychosis. Common symptoms including social withdrawal, irritability, and loss of interest, paranoia, and hallucinations should be watched out for. In some cases, having a relapse of one illness triggers a relapse into the other.

Schizophrenics who are able to move forward live a normal life away from the confinements of their disorder and the addiction itself. People learn to manage the symptoms and are able to create coping strategies when faced with triggers. Though recovery may be hard, the outlook of having a better life can be attainable with the support and help of family members and friends. Getting access to support groups, renewing perspectives, and learning new skills is a way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Schizophrenia Treatment Centers Provide Relief for Mental Health

Taking small steps for a big reason

New studies show that schizophrenia developed after modern humans evolved from Neanderthals and medical experts believe that it is a negative side effect of becoming a human being. Ole Andreassen, a senior researcher at University of Oslo, Norway and UCSD, says, “Our findings suggest that schizophrenia vulnerability arose after the divergence of modern humans from Neanderthals, and thus support the hypothesis that schizophrenia is a by-product of the complex evolution of the human brain”.

Medical experts say that schizophrenia can appear suddenly or come on slowly with subtle warnings. When someone starts experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, they will withdraw socially, become hostile, react negatively to criticism, use strange words and appear expressionless.

If schizophrenia is left untreated it can cause detrimental effects, such as:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized Speech
  • Disorganized Behavior
  • Lack of emotional expression
  • Lack of interest
  • Speech difficulties
  • Decline in daily functioning
  • Unpredictable emotional responses
  • Lack of inhibition and impulse control
  • Rapidly shifting from topic to topic with no apparent connection between them
  • Repetition of words, phrases or statements

Schizophrenia treatment involves extensive therapy sessions both traditional and experiential. Traditional therapies are based more on meeting one-on-one with a therapist in order to connect with deep-rooted emotional issues and negative triggers. Experiential therapies are designed for people to recognize their maladaptive behaviors and replace them with positive coping mechanisms. All therapies help patients recognize triggers and maladaptive behaviors, replace them with positive coping mechanisms and maintain a healthy lifestyle independent from stimuli.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says, “People with schizophrenia may cope with symptoms throughout their lives, but treatment helps many to recover and pursue their life goals. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and using new research tools to understand the causes of schizophrenia. In the years to come, this work may help prevent and better treat the illness”. Until a preventative measure for schizophrenia is developed, some people who suffer have found that running helps ease its symptoms.

The Semel Institute, a human behavior research institute, conducted a study on schizophrenia and found that physical exercise combined with computer-generated memory games and medication can significantly decrease the symptoms. Keith Nuechterlein, professor at Semel and head of the study, says, “Antipsychotic medication can stop the hallucinations, it does not reverse the damage caused by schizophrenia.” Nuechterlein continues to explain that raising the heart rate through exercise releases a protein that aids in the neurotrophic growth of the brain. The release of the protein helps stimulate the learning center and long-term memory of the brain and also strengthens the connections between neurons.

The study conducted by the Semel Institute further solidifies the effectiveness of the programs offered at schizophrenia treatment centers. Treatment programs offer a wide variety of therapies that, like exercise, stimulate the cognitive functions of the brain.

What to Expect at Schizophrenia Treatment Centers

California has over 800 miles of coastline, 364 days of sunshine and well over 400 outpatient and inpatient schizophrenia treatment centers. Each center offers the most effective programs designed to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia treatment should involve a combination of traditional and experiential therapies, such as one-on-one visits with a therapist and outdoor activities. Traditional therapies are designed for patients to recognize maladaptive behaviors, realign thinking patterns and think independently from stimuli. Experiential therapies help patients connect to the inner-psyche in order to understand feelings, emotions, behaviors and actions. Patients will learn how to control behaviors and live a life free from debilitating symptoms.

Treating schizophrenia symptoms at a schizophrenia treatment center will significantly increase happiness, self-esteem and longevity. Regain control of life and suffer no more with the guidance and support of schizophrenia treatment centers.

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