Drug Addiction and Schizophrenia Treatment

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When a patient is dealing with schizophrenia and drug addiction, it is important that they get the right treatment to help them along the way. Working with a specialized dual diagnosis treatment program that is able to handle both conditions will ensure that they get the best chance at recovery along the way. Without specialized treatment, it is hard to handle one or the other of these two issues on your own and when both of them occur together, it is going to be even harder. The right treatment center will be able to take care of you and give you a new outlook on life.

Overview of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe type of neurological disorder that is going to make a break between the surrounding world and the experience the individual is having. It is a type of mental illness, though it often includes several types of neurological disorders that will come together and will alter the sense of reality that the individual has. This can result in hallucinations, delusional beliefs, strange traits in the personality, and thoughts that are not organized.

Depending on the individual, the situation can often become frightening and hard for family members to deal with. Schizophrenia has the potential to affect so many parts of the individual from their thought processes to their communication and it will leave the individuals with difficulties with cognition, social interaction, their relationships, and even in work.

Identifying the Signs of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia has the ability to affect all aspects of the patients mind and personality. The most obvious warning signs that can happen is psychosis, which is an experience that will conflict dramatically with reality that others experience. There are a few broad categories that will be present with the symptoms of schizophrenia including:

  1. Sensory problems: The senses of the patient can be messed with during this condition. They may have visual hallucinations, which is when they see things that are not there. There are also auditory hallucinations where the person will hear voices that tell them things when no one is there.
  2. Cognitive symptoms: This will show in the inability of the patient to utilize or understand language in a way that is comprehensible. This can also lead to disorganized thinking, difficulty learning, and false beliefs.
  3. Behavioral symptoms: There can be a few behavioral symptoms that are going to show up with schizophrenia as well. This can include social withdrawal, neglecting personal hygiene, loss of interest in activities and jobs, and other socially unacceptable behavior.
  4. Emotional symptoms: The patient who has schizophrenia is going to have issues with emotions. Their mood changes will seem like they are all over the place and they seem to lack any kind of empathy with others.

For most patients, the symptoms of schizophrenia are going to appear for those in their teens or early 20’s. But on average, it tends to take more than eight years before the patient gets some of the help that they need. This can result in a lot of problems coming up for the patient, issues with work, issues with relationships, and even trouble with drug addiction along the way.

How are Substance Abuse and Schizophrenia Linked?

There seems to be a link between patients who suffer from schizophrenia and the rates of substance abuse. It is estimated that the rate of drug addiction is as much as 50% higher in patients who suffer from this mental illness than anyone else. This addiction can happen with any kind of substance, but the most common ones include nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol.

This can be a troubling issue. While the patient may feel like they are getting some relief from their symptoms, the substance that they use will actually intensify some of the security of their symptoms and can increase how many psychotic episodes occur. All of this comes together to make it a bad idea to combine the issues of schizophrenia with any kind of substance.

The problem is being able to recognize when both disorders are happening. There are a lot of symptoms that these two disorders will have in common, which makes it hard to even know that schizophrenia is present in the first place for someone who has a drug addiction. Some of the symptoms that both schizophrenia and drug addiction will share in common include:

  1. Lack of concentration
  2. High-risk behaviors due to poor judgment
  3. Emotional affect that seems a bit inappropriate or odd
  4. Speech that is often rapid and pressured
  5. Thoughts that have trouble being organized
  6. Visual or auditory hallucinations
  7. Delusional beliefs about others or about oneself.
  8. Withdrawal from social situations, especially if the individual was social before.
  9. Unpredictable behaviors and moods.

When you are dealing with any of the symptoms above, it is important to get drug addiction and schizophrenia treatment as soon as possible. This is the best way to help handle some of the symptoms and to make sure that the patient is able to get some of the care and attention that they need from a dedicated treatment center.

Both of these issues are serious and need specialized treatment. The drug addiction can cause some of its own issues along the way, but the schizophrenia can bring in a lot of trouble with the alternate reality and more. You will need to work with medical professionals to help handle the complexities that come with both conditions.

One example of this is marijuana and alcohol. Both of these are able to depress the central nervous system. This means that when used, they are going to provide a sedative effect on a mind that is overactive and dealing with delusional beliefs and hallucinations. This can make it appear that the patient is getting some relief from their symptoms.

We can also look at some of the stimulants. This can include opioids like cocaine. Cocaine is sometimes able to help the patient with schizophrenia to feel like they are more focused and may give them more elation and grandiosity during the disorder. The symptoms are always temporary and may make the patient feel better for a little while, but once they fade, the patient will feel worse than before.

Approaches Available to Treatment

While psychiatric medication is not enough to cure the issues with schizophrenia, it is able to make life easier for the patient. These medications will allow the patient to function in society and live a life that is healthier. For example, antipsychotic drugs will help the patient have a reduction in the severity of their hallucinatory experiences, which helps that patient experience the world and relate to others in a more normal way.

There are older and newer antipsychotic medications that the patient will be able to use to help handle the condition and make sure that the patient is able to stay healthy and live their life as normally as possible. The medical professionals at the treatment facility will be able to work with the patient to determine which medications are going to work the best with the least number of side effects.

From there, the patient will also need to go through therapy. This will help them to learn more about the schizophrenia that they are dealing with and some of the things that could trigger both that disorder and some of the drug addiction as well. The patient may go through several types of therapy including individual, family, and group therapy.

Individual therapy is going to allow the patient to work through some of the conditions from their schizophrenia and to get rid of some of the tendencies to rely on the drug substance that they choose. These drug addiction and schizophrenia treatment options may also include some family therapy sessions. These help not only the patient, but also their families to learn more about the conditions and what they can expect in the future with their loved one.

Group therapy is a common option that is used in many of these facilities. This allows the patient to share the stories of others at the center and learn more about the condition and what worked the best for them while receiving treatment. This is also a good place for the patient to start making some of their own support group, which is going to be helpful both during and after the treatment.

What Happens During Treatment

The first step that the patient will need to go through to help with treatment of drug use and schizophrenia is the admittance process. This is the time where the patient will work through some of the paperwork and get started with the process. They will need to talk with the dual diagnosis treatment center about some of their health issues and to get a better understanding of what is going on with both conditions. The point is to help the medical professionals learn more about the patient and figure out the right treatment for that patient.

Many patients will need to go through a withdrawal or a detox when they enter into the facility. They may still have the substance in their system and they need some help detoxing and getting it out. Since many patients with schizophrenia will use heavy drugs, it is best to do inpatient detox while they are in the treatment facility. They will be under the supervision of a medical professional and can get help, medications, and other assistance while they go through the withdrawal.

The treatment options will vary from one patient to another. The point is to help the patient learn about their condition, perhaps for the first time ever. They may need to go through several types of therapy to learn about the condition and to figure out some of the best coping techniques that will help the patient when they leave the treatment facility. There may also be medications given to help the patient deal with their schizophrenia.

During the treatment, the patient will start to work on their support group. They will get a chance to meet others who are dealing with similar conditions at the same time and through group therapy and other parts of their treatment, they can slowly start to build up a support group while they are there. This support group is going to be a critical part of the process, giving the patient someone that they can rely on while they heal.

All treatment for drug addiction and schizophrenia will rely on an aftercare program as well. This allows the patient a chance to still get assistance, even when they leave the center. This can include support groups, more therapy, continued medication and other options. The goal is to help the patient stay off the drug and manage their symptoms so they do not relapse in the future.

How Long Will I Need Treatment for Drug Addiction and Schizophrenia?

The length of time that the patient will need to work through the drug addiction and schizophrenia will depend on the individual patient. Each patient will react to the treatment differently and it does depend on the amount of time that the patient has been dealing with both problems.

Patients will be able to choose from inpatient and outpatient treatment options. The inpatient treatment provides some more in-depth help that is good for patients who are dealing with both of these conditions, but out-patient can work for those who may not be able to stay at the facility all the time.

Many facilities will offer programs like 30, 60, and 90 days in the facility. With both of these conditions being severe and hard to work through, it is often a good idea for the patient to stick with the longer treatment options. The counseling, withdrawal, and assistance through the process can take some time. The patient will be able to work with their dual diagnosis center to determine the best type of treatment and the right length for their needs.