Schizophrenia and Addiction: How Early Intervention Save Lives
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder affecting more than 23 million people worldwide, but even with these numbers and advances in treatment, there is still widespread discrimination and stigma associated with this mental health disorder. These adverse outcomes, as well as the debilitating symptoms of schizophrenia, often cause those dealing with it to turn to drugs and alcohol. However, with support, awareness and specialized treatment – hope is possible.
Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Risk Factors
What causes schizophrenia is still unknown; however, researchers have been able to identify risk factors such as genetics, trauma, and the imbalance of dopamine levels in the brain that may make a person more susceptible to developing this disorder. Signs and symptoms can begin at any age, but schizophrenia typically appears during adolescence. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms often include:
- Disorganized thinking (speech)
- Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior
- Negative symptoms such as apathy, lack of emotions or a decline in personal hygiene
Co-occurring Disorders, Addiction, and Early Intervention
Those living with schizophrenia find it debilitating, often resulting in loneliness and depression. However, early intervention, medical treatment and lots of support can help those with schizophrenia get symptoms under control before serious complications, such as substance use and addiction develop, improving long-term outlook and quality of life. Unfortunately, schizophrenia and substance use often occur together, which exacerbates symptoms and counteracts medications used to control the disease. This combination can lead to addiction – resulting in isolation, homelessness, and sometimes, even suicide. But it doesn’t have to be this way. While the combination of schizophrenia and addiction may seem impossible to treat, recovery from addiction while managing the mental illness is possible. Addiction and co-occurring disorders like schizophrenia need to be treated together to successfully reach sobriety. When treated for only addiction, those with a co-occurring disorder are likely to stop drug treatment early or experience a relapse.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder and schizophrenia, there is hope. Daylight Recovery Services offers specialized outpatient drug treatment programs, as well as inpatient drug treatment, to help those living with co-occurring disorders. You can save a person’s life today by contacting Daylight Recovery Services at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.