For those who suffer from schizophrenia, their views of reality are different from others’ views. As a result, these individuals may go through life differently from everyone else, as well. Without treatment tools like therapy for schizophrenia, symptoms can become very severe. 

The inability to get in touch with reality and connect with other people often causes people with schizophrenia to experience loneliness and depression. To cope with these negative feelings, many people with schizophrenia start to abuse substances. 

Constantly abusing substances while suffering from schizophrenia causes people with schizophrenia to develop the co-occurring disorders of schizophrenia and drug addiction. Unfortunately, suffering from an addiction to substances while having schizophrenia will only increase the severity of your schizophrenia symptoms. That’s why it’s important to understand how to manage your schizophrenia symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for schizophrenia can help individuals better manage their negative feelings and symptoms by teaching them how to replace their negative thoughts and feelings with positive and productive thoughts and feelings.

Before learning how to manage your schizophrenia symptoms, though, you must first learn what the symptoms of schizophrenia are. You must also understand what the causes and risk factors of schizophrenia are. Once you do all of that, you’re one step closer to treating schizophrenia and drug use. 

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that causes people to confuse fantasy with reality. People with schizophrenia often have hallucinations and delusions. Such symptoms cause individuals to struggle to manage and express their emotions. 

Those who suffer from schizophrenia also struggle to make rational decisions and process thoughts in an organized way. Constantly having hallucinations and delusions can even cause people with schizophrenia to hear voices or develop an extreme level of paranoia. This often causes individuals to think that people are out to get them or that other people are controlling their minds and thoughts. 

People who suffer from schizophrenia are often harmless. Still, their extreme paranoia and weird behaviors often cause other people to become frightened by them. This fear then causes many people to ostracize or bully those with schizophrenia. 

The Unfortunate Connection Between Schizophrenia and Suicide

Many people with schizophrenia also suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. In fact, more schizophrenics commit suicide each year than people without schizophrenia. This fact is remarkable since only 1% of the American population is schizophrenic. 

Signs of schizophrenia sometimes appear in childhood. Still, most people don’t fully develop schizophrenia until their late teens or early twenties. Once people develop this disorder, more than 10% of those people will commit suicide within the first 10 years of suffering from it. 

For those with schizophrenia who don’t commit suicide, they must learn how to manage their schizophrenia symptoms throughout the rest of their lives. This is because there is no real cure for schizophrenia.

Managing schizophrenia for an entire adult life may seem difficult and overwhelming. However, with the help of an accredited dual diagnosis program for schizophrenia and drug use, it’s something that all people with schizophrenia can learn to manage. 

What Are the Signs of Schizophrenia?

Although hard to detect at times, there are multiple signs of schizophrenia that everyone should be aware of. Some of these signs include constantly feeling flustered or anxious and having a lack of focus.

Although these are common signs of schizophrenia, they can also be signs of other mental illnesses. Therefore, make sure that you receive a schizophrenia diagnosis prior to going through dual diagnosis treatment for schizophrenia and drug addiction. 

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia can experience a wide variety of symptoms. These symptoms can range from small to big and vice versa. 

Hallucinations

Hallucinations are what people with schizophrenia experience when they see or hear things or people that don’t exist. Most people who experience hallucinations primarily hear things that are not real. Through therapy for schizophrenia and drug use, a therapist can teach those suffering how to deal with the voices in their heads.

Delusions

Delusions are false beliefs with no basis in reality. They are very common among those with schizophrenia. An example of a delusion is when a person believes that another person is his or her significant other despite never meeting that person. Treatment for schizophrenia can help people with schizophrenia manage their delusions. This is by showing them how to test the reality of their thoughts and perceptions.

Disorganized Thinking and Speaking

When a schizophrenic individual suffers from disorganized thinking and speaking, he or she will speak in abnormal ways. This is often due to those with schizophrenia stringing random words together in their minds. As a result, schizophrenic people often struggle to communicate with others. 

Disorganized or Abnormal Motor Behavior

People who suffer from schizophrenia tend to excessively fidget and move their bodies. The movements of some individuals are so abnormal that they cause schizophrenics to exhibit a weird or inappropriate posture.

Miscellaneous Negative Symptoms

There are many other random symptoms of schizophrenia that contribute to those suffering from schizophrenia not being able to function in society. One of these miscellaneous schizophrenia symptoms is the inability to make eye contact. This inability can be due to those with schizophrenia not being used to socializing with others. The fact that schizophrenia is often characterized by a struggle to express emotion also doesn’t help.

Another miscellaneous negative symptom of schizophrenia is a lack of personal hygiene. This is possibly due to the fact that people with schizophrenia are too busy living in their own world. Dealing with paranoia can make it difficult to concentrate on normal societal expectations, such as keeping up with their personal hygiene. 

The fact that many people who suffer from schizophrenia also suffer from depression can also be a reason why people with schizophrenia don’t feel that it’s worth it to maintain their personal hygiene.

Causes of Schizophrenia

No one knows the exact cause of schizophrenia. Researchers believe that schizophrenia is due to a combination of risk factors. These risk factors of schizophrenia are described below.

Genetics

Like with most mental illnesses, schizophrenia is likely hereditary in some way. Therefore, if schizophrenia runs in your family, you may have a genetic predisposition to the disorder. 

For some people, the genetic predisposition to schizophrenia is so strong that they develop it without any outside triggers by the time they reach adulthood. For others, the trigger of stress combined with a predisposition to schizophrenia can lead to the development of the illness.

Structural or Chemical Changes in the Brain

An imbalance or low level of neurotransmitters in the brain is one of the risk factors for schizophrenia. This is because it can cause your mind and body to not function properly. Having an imbalance or low level of neurotransmitters in your brain can also cause one to experience emotional highs or lows, which can then trigger mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia within someone. 

Even structural changes to the brain can cause mental illnesses like schizophrenia to pop up. This is because structural changes in the brain lead to chemical changes in the brain. 

Pregnancy or Birth Complications

Pregnancy or birth complications increase the chances that a newborn child will suffer from schizophrenia. The opposite is also true: Suffering from schizophrenia will increase the chances that you will suffer from complications during pregnancy. 

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a risk factor for schizophrenia because it can cause people to repress their childhood feelings in a way that can make them come out in the form of hallucinations. 

Previous Drug Use

Drug use is a risk factor for schizophrenia in people that already have a predisposition to it. This is particularly the case for substances such as cocaine, LSD, and amphetamines. Many of the substances that can trigger schizophrenia are also highly addictive. As a result, people who abuse drugs can not only trigger schizophrenia but can also trigger the co-occurring disorder of schizophrenia and drug addiction. 

Schizophrenia and Drug Addiction

Studies show that 50% of people with schizophrenia have a history of substance abuse. Therefore, it’s highly likely that people with schizophrenia also have a co-occurring disorder. Unfortunately, schizophrenia worsens addictions and vice versa. 

Treatment for Schizophrenia and Drug Use 

To get to the root of the problem with both schizophrenia and addiction, you must attend dual diagnosis treatment. Through dual diagnosis treatment for schizophrenia and addiction, you’ll attend addiction treatment along with a number of therapy programs that cater to the treatment of schizophrenia. 

One popular form of therapy that helps is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for schizophrenia. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people to change their negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions into positive ones. Therefore, CBT for schizophrenia will help schizophrenics change their negative and unrealistic beliefs and thoughts into positive and productive beliefs and thoughts that are based on reality. 

Receive Treatment for Schizophrenia and Drug Use at Northern Illinois Recovery Center

At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we embrace mental health in every aspect of our addiction treatment. We pride ourselves on our dual diagnosis treatment programs. Whether you’re attending dual diagnosis treatment for schizophrenia and addiction or some other mental health and substance abuse combination, we’ve got you covered. 

To learn more about Northern Illinois Recovery and the addiction treatment services that we provide, contact us today. We look forward to getting your call.