Schizophrenia and substance abuse are common conditions that seem to go hand in hand for some people. People who suffer from the mental disorder often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the symptoms they are experiencing. Although schizophrenia can often lead to an addiction, it is rare for the reverse to happen. Most researchers do not believe that it is possible for substance abuse to cause schizophrenia. If your suspect your loved one is dealing with these conditions, it is important for you to know the signs and symptoms of both and what factors can contribute to their co-occurrence.
Schizophrenia and substance abuse can be triggered by various factors. For instance, a person who suffers from schizophrenia may turn to alcohol to help with the awkwardness that occurs during social interactions. In the schizophrenic brain, it is far easier for a person to pick up an addictive habit than a person without a mental disorder. Pressures to deal with the abnormalities in the brain that result from schizophrenia can also lead to substance abuse.
When your loved one is suffering from schizophrenia, you will notice symptoms that generally fall into three categories. Positive schizophrenia symptoms can cause unusual perceptions such as delusions or hallucinations. Negative symptoms may result in a loss in an ability to communicate well or find pleasure in daily life. Some people who are experiencing these problems may be mistakenly diagnosed with having depression. There is also the perception that people who exhibit these symptoms are lazy.
Cognitive symptoms affect the memory and the ability to execute functions such as organizing and planning. These symptoms are often difficult for the average person to detect. Of all the symptoms possible for a schizophrenic to experience, cognitive symptoms can be the worst. Without the ability to think properly, it is difficult to perform daily living tasks.
When your loved one is suffering from both schizophrenia and substance abuse, the symptoms of the mental disorder are intensified. The symptoms are more likely to occur on a consistent basis. The “normal” days may seem few and far between. Most people who are dealing with schizophrenia and substance abuse have a difficult time with maintaining social stability. This can also lead to an inability to maintain life stability. It will be difficult to maintain relationships with friends and family. Working, going to school, and maintaining the home will become less of a priority.
Some people who struggle with schizophrenia and substance abuse may also have problems with violence. The slightest things can be a trigger for rage. This can lead to a host of other problems including legal ones. Some people even wind up in the jail because they are unable to deal with the co-occurring disorders.
Ultimately, your loved one may have problems that result in the development of medical issues. Medical problems can include suicide attempts. Unfortunately many people who are suffering from the two conditions see no way to getting help and attempt to end their lives.
Substance abuse can apply to the excessive use of nicotine. In fact, the most commonly used substance of schizophrenics is nicotine. Due to the addictive nature of a schizophrenic, a bad habit can be made much worse. People who are taking medications for the mental disorder can have major medical problems while smoking. The nicotine can negatively interact with the medication and lead to dangerous side effects. If you notice any of these symptoms in your loved one, you should seek help immediately. A careful evaluation of his mental state and current abuse issues will be made so that a treatment plan can be created.