Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse

Around half of the people who have a mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. This can be very difficult for families to handle because too many times these people are tossed around in a system that does not know how to treat them effectively. Very often, one problem is identified while the other is not and this is not effective treatment and never will be. However, there are treatment facilities that do specialize in dual diagnosis patients and they are very effective in addressing and treating both issues.

Drug abuse only worsens the mental illness making treatment more complicated and lengthy. This is especially true with schizophrenia because they are more difficult to connect with in treatment. They also tend to have a higher relapse rate and are often juggled back and forth between treatment facilities. Another problem is that schizophrenics often display violence which is worsened when drugs or alcohol are also part of the picture. Domestic violence and suicide rates are much higher.

Schizophrenia combined with substance abuse also causes social problems. They have a hard time developing social relationships. The easiest groups for them to fit into seem to be the drug using crowd also making it more difficult for them to seek treatment. Standard treatments will not work for someone with schizophrenia as they are mentally delicate to endure them. Forcing this kind of treatment on them can actually worsen the problem. In addition, families of the individuals also need to seek help for support.

  • 10 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Do you think that the substance abuse talked about here also comes from the prescription drugs prescribed to the patients by their doctors?

    For some reason I'm have an issue with this today. You laid out another very good post though. You're a very good contributer.
  • Substance abuse is a very difficult thing to handle, but adding schizophrenia to the picture is another worst story. I couldn't imagine how someone would be able to overcome these two monsters. I guess it would really take a lot of time and effort to get rid of those two.
  • "Another problem is that schizophrenics often display violence which is
    worsened when drugs or alcohol are also part of the picture"

    I am not certain about the adjective "often". 


    According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) "Most people with schizophrenia are not violent.  However, a few people
    have this problem. Violence usually happens at home with family members." 


    Although, when this condition is mixed with substance abuse,  there can certainly be an increased likelihood for violent behavior. I enjoyed and appreciated this thoughtful, informative write up. Thanks for bringing this information out in the open to the public and to all the members on this forum.

    @ Loveistheanswer  When you ask, "Do you think that the substance abuse talked about here also comes from
    the prescription drugs prescribed to the patients by their doctors?",
    my response is strictly an opinion, I am not a professional, thus not equipped to offer any medical advice; nevertheless, I do have an opinion.  I think any prescribed anti-psychotic medications has the possibility for side effects, I have often wondered myself when a personal suffering from a mental or physical illness does not get the relief they are looking for turn to drugs and alcohol for some type of relief as a way to self-medicate.  This why it is always important to keep on top of doctor appointments.

    dyanmarie25  "Substance abuse is a very difficult thing to handle, but adding
    schizophrenia to the picture is another worst story. I couldn't imagine
    how someone would be able to overcome these two monsters. I guess it
    would really take a lot of time and effort to get rid of those two."

    I agree with you about the added complications.  Would just to add, one does not get "rid" of
    schizophrenia. 
  • I totally agree I have battled with mental issues most my life. I turned to alcohol to cope with it. Mental health needs to be at the forefront of this country's concerns. It's real, and it's deadly if not addressed.
  • Sadly, this is true for some people who suffers of a mental illness, on groups of people who use drugs they find the acceptance that groups of 'normal' people couldn't give them, and as you've mentioned is harder to handle the situation, drugs only make the illness worst.
  • Curiously sometimes schizophrenia is treated with medication which substances lead to abuse, making or treatments a viced-circle that is hard to cut.

    Too bad because it deteriorates mental health further and probably could be contributing factor to dementia.
  • schizophrenia has always terrified me. Its tragic when someone has it. But I don't know if I could live that way.
  • whats the difference between schizophrenia and schizo?
  • @Loveistheanswer  I was wondering the same.  I was taking medications for a while and I got kinda addicted to some of those meds.  I liked the way I felt when I overdosed on  Seroquel or Amitrptyiline and Clonazepam. They could have killed me, I know... it's a miracle I am here. But I don't think it's a coincidence I suffer from mental illness and I abused those substances a lot.  There must be a big connection... but then again, I had my first enoucnter with other drugs and alcohol when I was just a kid...
  • Because I'm always so paranoid, I constantly convince myself that I'm developing some sort of level of schizophrenia. That scares me so much that one day I might be living with that on top of my medical conditions. Half of the time things I believe are real people tell me never happened and that's scary.
Sign In or Register to comment.