Substance Abuse And Schizophrenia Co-Occurring Disorders 

What Is Schizophrenia? 

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects the ability to interpret reality. Here, the patient perceives reality in a very disoriented and abnormal manner. It involves hallucinations, delusions, impaired thinking, and behavioural patterns. Schizophrenia is a very less known mental disorder in comparison to other mental illnesses. Schizophrenia affects less than 1% of the population in the US. 

It is the most fatal and severe mental disorder that might need life-long treatment. Individuals with schizophrenia are unable to differentiate between imaginary worlds and reality. Due to this, they may have difficulties in forming interpersonal relationships that severely affect the social life of an individual. Schizophrenia is often a result of brain chemistry, family medical history, and Brain structure. 

Role Of Alcohol And Other Addiction

The co-occurrence of Schizophrenia & Addiction or SUDs is very common. According to data and studies, it is proven that people with schizophrenia are also under the influence of substance abuse or may have suffered addiction to any substance in the past. There are high chances of co-occurrence in these mental disorders.

  •  Patients of schizophrenia often indulge in the consumption of drugs to self-medicate, and in hopes of avoiding getting their feelings of anxiety or fear. 
  •  Although there is no proven diagnosis or research that shows addiction is the cause of schizophrenia, it can contribute as a silent investor in causing the trouble.
  • Addiction functions as the environmental trigger that can worsen the case of schizophrenia or may activate the genetic risk factor causing schizophrenia.
  •  Usage of any drugs such as cannabis, heroin, stimulator, or alcohol may increase the severity of the schizophrenic symptoms. 

No matter what, it is advisable not to go into such addictions as it ruins your life in the long term. 

The Bottom Line 

Schizophrenia and SUDs are often mistaken as similar, the reason being the similarity in the symptoms. Both of these disorders make patients gravely distant from reality and cause hallucinations, disorganized speech, and impaired mental status. Thus, it is very important to get the proper diagnosis of both disorders and take medical assistance. It is in the best interest to avoid the practice of self-medication.