Schizophrenia and Alcohol | Banyan Heartland

Schizophrenia and Alcohol


Link Between Schizophrenia and Alcohol

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes symptoms like distorted thoughts, hallucinations, and intense feelings of fear and paranoia. Schizophrenia is believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which may affect a person’s mood, behavior, and how they perceive their environment. A person with schizophrenia may see, hear, and even smell things that aren’t there. These hallucinations can often be terrifying, instilling fear and even paranoia. On the other hand, schizophrenia can also cause something known as a “flat affect”, in which the person lacks emotion. Because this form of mental illness can be difficult to cope with, many people turn to drink as a way to escape from their symptoms. The link between schizophrenia and alcohol may not be so one-sided, however. Our rehab center in Illinois is taking a closer look at how alcohol affects schizophrenia.

What Is the Connection Between Schizophrenia And Alcohol Use Disorder?

Substance abuse, in general, is common in people who suffer from schizophrenia. Alcohol is a particularly common substance of choice for schizophrenics because it’s a cheap and legal alternative to illicit drugs. But alcohol is problematic; a person who becomes dependent on it may need alcohol treatment to recover. If alcohol abuse can have a horrible impact on a person with good mental health, imagine what it can do to someone with schizophrenia.

People Drink to Alleviate Their Symptoms

As with many other forms of mental illness, schizophrenia produces a variety of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without help. Unfortunately, many people with schizophrenia are either in a position where they can’t seek help because of their mental state or don’t know how to ask for help. But while alcohol can offer a sense of relaxation, it actually can make symptoms of schizophrenia worse. Alcohol can cause more frequent lapses of schizophrenia symptoms like:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Slow movements
  • Inability to sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Low sex drive
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities

Alcohol also produces its own set of symptoms. A person who struggles with schizophrenia and drinks heavily may also experience additional side effects. Long-term alcohol abuse also results in alcoholism, which usually requires professional treatment. At Banyan Heartland, we offer an alcohol detox that is unique to individuals who struggle with alcoholism and want to begin their recovery journey.

Both Disorders May Be Hereditary

Unfortunately, both disorders are also hereditary. There are genetic links to alcoholism as well as mental disorders like schizophrenia. Research displays strong ties between conditions like schizophrenia and alcohol use disorder, specifically about the shared genetic liability that may contribute to the co-occurrence of both. Certain genetic variations specifically correlate with co-occurring disorders like schizophrenia and alcohol dependence, not just alcohol abuse alone, either, meaning that there is a specific link between schizophrenia and alcohol.

It’s dangerous for individuals with mental illnesses to turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope with their symptoms. Not only are the physical dangers of alcohol and schizophrenia real, but drinking also blinds the individual from their need to get help. Because schizophrenia and alcohol use disorder together is a co-occurring disorder, each condition requires its form of treatment. While we offer addiction treatment programs at Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland, our mental health rehab in Florida offers treatment for co-occurring disorders as well as a mental health treatment for schizophrenia.

If you or someone you know is battling addiction, do not wait to get help. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about the addiction treatment programs we offer at our rehab facility.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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