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Co-Occurring Schizophrenia

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia often turn to drugs and alcohol for relief from their condition. In fact, a meta-analysis by Brady and Sinha found that almost 50% of individuals suffering from schizophrenia also exhibit signs of drug or alcohol dependence. This co-occurring substance use disorder exacerbates psychotic episodes, results in poor treatment compliance, and increases the risk of illness and injury. The dual diagnosis treatment program at Creative Care is a safe haven for individuals suffering from co-occurring schizophrenia. Our team treats co-occurring substance use issues as part of a bigger problem, teaching our clients how to safely manage schizophrenia and lead lives of wellness and contentment. To learn more about our residential dual diagnosis program, give us a call today.

Common Questions About Co-Occurring Schizophrenia

Co-occurring schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that alters an individual’s perception of reality, affecting the way they think, feel, and behave. The symptoms of untreated schizophrenia are persistent, disabling, and put individuals at high risk of developing a substance use disorder.

Schizophrenia typically manifests in the late teens through early 30s and often affects men earlier than women. Co-occurring substance use disorders worsen psychotic symptoms. Additionally, the mood changes that often occur in adolescence prior to the episodes that mark schizophrenia increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder dramatically.

Co-occurring schizophrenia features psychotic, negative, and cognitive symptoms, as well as those typical of substance use disorder. These include:

  • Auditory or visual hallucinations
  • Delusions and paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of motivation
  • Disinterest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Trouble focusing
  • Substance use that causes problems with work, school, and relationships
  • Continuing to use these substances despite their negative consequences

Scientists believe schizophrenia to be the product of both biological and environmental factors. High-stress events like childhood trauma seem to be linked to the development of schizophrenia. However, researchers believe that these may be catalysts rather than causes. The use of mind-altering drugs during teen years and early adulthood may also increase the risk of schizophrenia.

It is essential that those suffering from schizophrenia receive dual diagnosis treatment. An active substance use disorder exacerbates schizophrenic symptoms, acting as a barrier to treatment and preventing individuals from learning to successfully manage their condition. The residential dual diagnosis program at Creative Care features a full staff of experts offering evidence-based strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and family therapy to help individuals overcome their co-occurring schizophrenia and substance use disorders simultaneously.

We have over 30 years of experience helping individuals manage and overcome co-occurring conditions like schizoaffective disorder. For compassionate, innovative treatment, call Creative Care today.