Does Substance Abuse Affect Schizophrenia?

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Individuals suffering from substance use disorder are also frequently experiencing other co-occurring mental disorders. A commonly encountered mental disorder among drug users is schizophrenia. Unfortunately, substance use can affect a person’s entire well-being wreaking havoc on their physical and mental health. When it comes to mental disorders like schizophrenia, the clinical course will typically worsen with substance use. However, many are still wondering does substance abuse affect schizophrenia and how. At Bright Futures Treatment Center, we specialize in addiction solutions Florida, and we strive to educate our clients. Join us as we explore the link between substance use, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders.

What is Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that comes with a wide variety of symptoms. Most notable, of course, are frequent episodes of psychosis. Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia will exhibit continuous or relapsing psychoses that include hallucinations or delusions. These hallucinations typically take the form of auditory verbal hallucinations, where patients claim to hear voices. Additionally, individuals with schizophrenia have cognitive thought disorders. The disorganized thinking coupled with social withdrawal and difficulty in expressing emotions makes schizophrenia extremely challenging to diagnose. Since there is no diagnostic test to objectively confirm schizophrenia, experts base their diagnosis on observed behavior and patient history.

Symptoms of schizophrenia will develop gradually, and the initial symptoms typically present themselves as individuals enter adulthood. People with schizophrenia are also likely to have other mental disorders such as substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD. As with most mental disorders, the causes of schizophrenia fall under both genetic and environmental factors. These factors make examining a patient’s medical and family history crucial when diagnosing and treating schizophrenia.

As with most mental disorders, there is a stigma that accompanies schizophrenia. Uninformed members of the public often believe that people with schizophrenia are violent. However, that is not the case and most are not aggressive. Moreover, they are much more likely to be victims of violence or abuse. Unfortunately, these misconceptions and the portrayal of schizophrenia in movies and literature lead to further social exclusion. Withdrawal combined with depression and marijuana use can lead to an array of social problems. This makes it difficult for people with schizophrenia to hold steady jobs, and they require vocational training and social rehabilitation.

Man with schizophrenia having a psychotic episode.
Auditory hallucinations are a common symptom of schizophrenia.

Is it Possible to Treat Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse?

Since diagnosing schizophrenia is difficult before the onset of initial symptoms in young adulthood, prevention becomes a challenging prospect. Individuals with a genetic predisposition should be on the lookout for early signs of psychosis. Early intervention programs rely on behavioral therapy, which has also proven to be successful for treating substance use disorder. While some scientists can’t agree on does substance abuse affect schizophrenia, avoiding drug use is highly recommended.

Through professional treatment, individuals with schizophrenia may experience a significant improvement, and even full recovery is possible. However, the situation is much more complex when drug use is involved. In these situations, it would be best to seek treatment from professionals for drug rehab Palm Beach. Substance use can take a heavy toll on a person’s mental state. Therefore, professionals with experience in treating addiction and mental disorders must oversee a patient’s recovery.

The use of hard drugs, such as cocaine, can lead to changes in brain chemistry. These changes can make treating schizophrenia extremely difficult, and it’s advisable to undergo crack cocaine rehab. During rehab, patients will first undergo medical detox. Once patients are free from the direct influence of drugs, our therapists can work on treating their underlying mental disorders.

By adhering to a strict regimen of antipsychotics, exercise and a balanced diet individuals can avoid long-term schizophrenia relapse. At Bright Futures in Boynton Beach, we also teach our patients the necessary skills they need to avoid addiction triggers. With the right help, you can learn to manage your mental state and live a drug-free life.

Depressed man sitting alone wondering does substance abuse affect schizophrenia.
Social isolation and substance use can affect schizophrenia.

The Link Between Substance Use and Mental Health

What many people fail to realize is that addiction and mental health issues go hand in hand. The human mind is complex and beautiful, yet incredibly fragile. Mental disorders can occur for a variety of reasons, and thankfully, we’ve become better at diagnosing, preventing, and treating them. When trying to understand the complexities of these disorders it’s essential to understand does substance abuse affect schizophrenia. For some individuals, substance use may occur before the onset of schizophrenia symptoms. On the other hand, it’s also possible for schizophrenia to exhibit only after individuals start abusing drugs and alcohol.

Some experts are divided on the topic of which comes first. We can advocate that the discussion of substance use vs. mental health disorders is like the-chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Studies have shown that people with mental disorders are more likely to engage in substance use and develop an addiction. However, the opposite is also true, and individuals with substance use disorders are at risk of developing other mental disorders. It is usually difficult to differentiate between mental disorders that are substance-induced and those that occurred independently.

Since substance use disorder is a chronic mental illness – it has no cure. Individuals who complete rehab are called recovering addicts, and there is always a risk of relapse. Thankfully, through proper treatment, patients can learn to manage their addiction and refrain from drug use. To achieve this, it’s recommended to enter inpatient rehab Florida. Through treatment that’s supervised by addiction psychiatrists, patients can also learn to manage their mental disorders.

Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

When a person has both a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental disorder, they are given a dual diagnosis. For the longest time, the common practice was to treat each health issue a person has. Therefore, patients needed to wait until they were sober and free from drugs to begin treating their mental disorders. However, untreated mental health issues increase the risk of relapse, and it’s highly recommended to treat them alongside substance use. Sometimes, these issues are treated separately, meaning individuals don’t receive the comprehensive treatment they require.

This is where dual diagnosis treatment can help individuals. At Bright Futures, we develop personalized treatment programs for each of our patients, suited to their specific needs. During your time in rehab, all of your treatment providers will know you have a dual diagnosis. In individual therapy sessions, you will learn about the link between addiction and co-occurring disorders and does substance abuse affect schizophrenia. We also provide education to spouses and family members on addiction and mental health.

Another essential component of dual diagnosis treatment is pharmacological therapy. Licensed therapists will oversee your recovery and apply psychiatric medication when necessary. Medicine is often applied during the initial stages of recovery to help patients overcome their withdrawal symptoms and cravingsMedically-assisted therapy reduces the risk of relapse and enables patients to get through the most physically demanding stages of rehab.

Besides helping patients with schizophrenia, dual diagnosis treatment is also suitable for individuals with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. We work with patients to develop a treatment plan to address their substance use and mental health or mood disorders. After completing rehab, patients can continue to manage their well-being by attending 12-step meetings and individual therapy sessions.

Tablet showing mental health resources.
We educate our patients and offer them mental health and awareness resources.

Does Substance Abuse Affect Schizophrenia

Scientists believe the genetic determinants of risk for schizophrenia are what makes patients vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder. The vulnerabilities from these factors may be present in individuals even before any symptoms have presented. However, substance use, particularly in adolescence, can increase the chances of the appearance of schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms. Avoiding drug use can also significantly reduce the risk of developing a substance use disorder and drug-induced psychotic episodes.

However, if we want to understand does substance abuse affect schizophrenia and how we should look at the risk factors for a broad spectrum of patients. Studies have shown that a major contributing factor to the early onset of schizophrenia is stress from an urban environment. Again, we need to dive deeper to better understand the exact risk factors. The dominant factors in this group are social isolation and drug use. Additionally, individuals with a predisposition for developing schizophrenia have higher chances of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The combined risk of schizophrenia and substance use can be attributed to social factors. Low education rates, isolation, poverty, and a lack of vocational programs can all compound the already present issues. However, we must also take into account that some individuals with schizophrenia turn to self-medication to lessen their symptoms. Over time, this self-medication can lead to dependence and addiction. Increased use of substances even before the onset of schizophrenia symptoms can cause changes in brain chemistry. Early drug use can lead to disruption of the brain’s natural reward cycle, making individuals more likely to turn to self-medication. When facing stress from schizophrenia symptoms, these individuals frequently fall back on their old coping mechanisms. Therefore, it’s essential to simultaneously treat both substance use and schizophrenia if patients wish to achieve long-term sobriety.

Drowning man reaching for help.
We can help, you only need to reach out to us.

How to Enter Rehab?

Overcoming addiction alone is an impossible task. When most individuals try to stop using, they are immediately confronted with withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms and cravings can be so intense that the only recourse most people have is to use again. Sadly, this only restarts the cycle of addiction, making it seemingly impossible to break free. However, it is possible to overcome addiction, even if you have a co-occurring mental disorder.

If you need professional help in treating substance use and schizophrenia, feel free to reach out to us. Our friendly and welcoming staff will walk you through our admission process and explain how to enter rehab. We can also answer all of your questions, such as “does substance abuse affect schizophrenia,” and how our programs function.

Most patients are also interested in how much time they will need to spend in rehab. However, treating substance use and a mental disorder can significantly vary from patient to patient. Therefore, it’s impossible to give a universal answer. Stay in residential programs is at least 30 days, but patients can extend their stay to 60 or 90 days.

We realize that this can be a huge commitment for some people, especially if they have work or family obligations. For this reason, we have developed an intensive outpatient program Florida, where patients aren’t required to stay at our facility. In these programs, patients can spend nights in their own homes, while continuing to attend individual and group sessions. However, for patients with severe symptoms, inpatient stay is recommended. Upon completing their inpatient programs, individuals can progress to outpatient rehab.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Rehab?

There are many reasons people get scared and avoid entering rehab. For some, it’s wondering how they will cover the costs of treatment. Fortunately, Bright Futures accepts coverage from most major health insurance providers. This means that you can use health insurance to cover up to 100% of your costs of treatment. However, the exact coverage will depend on your provider and the details of your insurance plan. You can consult with your insurance provider, or contact our admissions staff who can verify your insurance. We can explain which benefits and services you are eligible for and what will be covered by your insurance.

Of course, there are individuals with specific insurance-related questions, for example, “does Aetna cover alcohol rehab.” Although we accept insurance from major providers including Aetna, it would be best if you verify your insurance. Coverage can differ based on many factors, and you don’t want to face any surprises when entering rehab. Your best course of action is to contact your provider or ask us to verify your benefits.

Some insurance providers will only cover a set duration of your stay in rehab. Depending on the substance you are addicted to and other factors, your time in rehab may vary. Therefore, it’s perfectly natural to wonder does AmeriHealth cover drug rehab. However, you can contact us, and we can perform an initial assessment of your condition. We can even give you an estimate of how long your rehab may last so you know what to expect.

Lead a sober and balanced lifestyle by getting professional help in rehab.

Which Substance Use Disorders We Treat at Bright Futures 

Addiction is a progressive disease that does not discriminate, and no one is immune to developing a substance use disorder. The same can be said for mental health disorders. Although we know the probable contributing environmental and genetic factors – individuals can still develop mental health disorders without prior warning. Although some are unsure does substance abuse affect schizophrenia, we have already outlined the link between substance use and mental health.

Besides the fact that there are many similarities between various types of addiction, there are also many differences. At Bright Futures, we believe that each patient should receive the highest level of care. This includes making every patient feel seen and heard and adapting our treatment to their needs. We can treat your addiction regardless if you need Adderall addiction rehab or an addiction to hard drugs. When you initially contact us, we can perform an interview and an assessment. Based on your substance use and level of addiction, we can find the perfect treatment for your situation.

Most of our patients come in for treatment of:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Meth Addiction
  • Heroin Addiction
  • Crack Addiction
  • Prescription Drug Addiction (including Oxycodone and Adderall)

However, we understand that addiction is a complex disease that affects more people than just the individual who is using. For this reason, we also offer couples rehab, family education programs, and aftercare programs. You can also contact us on behalf of a loved one, for example, if a family member needs alcohol rehab Florida, we can provide you with the necessary resources to admit them into our facility.

Closing thoughts

As challenging as addiction is to deal with, things get even more complex when other co-occurring mental disorders are present. In these situations, recovery requires care from licensed clinicians with experience in dual diagnosis, mental health disorders, and behavioral therapy. In this article we’ve explained does substance abuse affect schizophrenia and the link between mental health and addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. We can get you the help you need to overcome your substance use and regulate your mental health. With the right treatment, long-term sobriety is possible and you can also learn to manage your mental state. Take your first steps toward recovery at Bright Futures and seize your opportunity for a fresh start.



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