It is easy to get lost in the feelings that a substance such as alcohol can provide. When circumstance makes it seem like the only source of tangible comfort, people begin to form addictions and dependencies around it. Sadly, certain demographics of people with mental illness are more likely to fall victim to this phenomenon.
Our Banyan Pompano rehabilitation center explores the crossroads of schizophrenia and alcohol.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by obstructions to a person’s decision-making abilities and perceptions of the outside world. It is much more common in adults and typically occurs for men in their early twenties and women in their early thirties. While it is possible for signs of this illness to be present in children and older people, it is significantly less common for the illness to develop at these ages.
An official diagnosis is dependent on the presence of delusions, hallucinations, visible confusion, and negative symptoms, like a lack of interest in what’s around them. Lack of a diagnosis can make things exponentially harder in treating the disorder, as many of the medicines that are used to treat it will require a prescription.
For those in this predicament, alcohol can become a solace in terms of managing the unpleasant symptoms of the disorder. The presence of schizophrenia heightens a person’s risk of developing alcoholism and can send them down a dark and dangerous cycle that becomes harder to break out of with time.
Research has found that mind-altering substances like alcohol present a higher risk of triggering psychosis in individuals with a family history of schizophrenia. This susceptibility rises when the substance is abused. These can be life-changing events that lead to significant pain and confusion for the afflicted.
For example, while a young person in an abusive home may be drinking to deal with the pain of their situation, overdoing this could intensify their likelihood of the disorder earlier than if they had not drunk at all. Sadly, when alcohol is used to self-medicate, whether it’s due to economic challenges or social stigma regarding mental health, it can present a higher risk of developing a mental illness like schizophrenia, especially for those with a family history of the disease.
Research has proven the dangers of abusing alcohol and the link to schizophrenia, with or without a formal diagnosis. Abusing alcohol can trigger a psychotic episode in those unknowingly afflicted with the disease, while diagnosed schizophrenics possess a higher chance of developing alcoholism.
Schizophrenia and alcohol will always be a dangerous combination. Attempting to self-medicate without instruction from a licensed professional is like walking a tightrope. Even though practice and repetition can make us believe that we have our situation under control, it never truly removes the risks.
Isolation is one of the most dangerous things in these situations, but help is out there. Our Pompano Beach treatment center offers dual diagnosis treatment options for those simultaneously afflicted with challenges like schizophrenia and addiction.