addiction recovery and schizophrenia

A persistent and potentially debilitating mental disorder, schizophrenia impacts a person’s behavior, feelings, and the way they think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “people with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality, which causes significant distress for the individual, their family members, and friends.” Like a number of other mental illnesses, there is no cure, but treatments can help those affected to live an independent, rewarding life.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Usually diagnosed after the individual experiences an initial episode of psychosis, schizophrenia comprises three main categories of symptoms: psychotic, negative, and cognitive symptoms.

  • Psychotic symptoms refer to a change in the way the individual perceives experiences, as well as altered thought patterns and unusual behaviors. Hallucinations, delusions such as paranoia, and disorganized speech may occur.
  • Negative symptoms also impair the individual’s ability to function normally, often appearing as a loss of finding pleasure in life, social withdrawal, and a loss of motivation. Negative symptoms sometimes lead to a “flat affect” in which the person exhibits little emotion.
  • Cognitive symptoms disrupt the way the individual thinks, impacting their memory, concentration, and ability to pay attention. Cognitive symptoms frequently make it more difficult to focus, make decisions, and use recently learned information.

Causes of schizophrenia

While specific causes are still largely unknown, some risk factors that contribute to schizophrenia have been identified. They include genetics, environmental hazards such as poverty and other traumatic or high-stress living situations, and exposure to viruses before birth, as well as differences in how the brain is structured and how it functions (specifically in reference to neurotransmitters such as dopamine).

Individuals with challenging mental health conditions will frequently attempt to alleviate their symptoms by using substances, and one study, in particular, found that up to 50 percent of people with schizophrenia are dependent on either alcohol or illicit drugs. Because so many people with schizophrenia also have a substance abuse disorder, and because the two conditions sometimes have overlapping symptoms, it’s critical that those who are suffering find a rehabilitation center that’s qualified to treat both. Known as integrated or dual diagnosis care, effective treatment requires addressing both the substance use disorder as well as schizophrenia. To ensure long-term treatment success, modern mental healthcare now recommends that both conditions be treated in tandem, an integrated treatment approach that might combine therapies such as antipsychotic medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, and family support.

At our Colorado addiction recovery center, experienced healthcare professionals provide effective, integrated dual diagnosis treatment. Working diligently to understand each person’s struggles, schizophrenia, and addiction, we help advocate healthier coping mechanisms and give each individual the tools they need to work toward lasting recovery.

Choice House Can Help

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Choice House offers compassionate, goal-focused dual diagnosis treatment. Through our various programs – 90-day residential treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and structured sober living – our dedicated team of licensed therapists and behavioral health professionals work with participants in group and individual settings to identify the root causes of the issues they are facing. We understand that addiction and mental health disorders such as schizophrenia are complex issues, and we offer an integrated treatment approach that addresses both conditions simultaneously for the most effective long-term results.