Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that causes severe disruptions in a person’s health, happiness, and peace of mind. The symptoms of schizophrenia can begin at almost any age. Still, it’s typically a mental condition that appears during adolescence when people learn to function in the adult world. With the proper treatment, those who struggle with schizophrenia can keep the symptoms under control, but the condition can never truly be cured.
Addictive drugs can worsen the process, exacerbating symptoms and counteracting medications used to control the disease. While schizophrenia and addiction can go hand in hand, recovery from addiction while managing mental health conditions is possible. At Michael’s House, we offer a dual diagnosis treatment program for those struggling with schizophrenia and addiction. In our schizophrenia and addiction therapy program, we use a combination of evidence-based practices to create a personalized treatment plan for each individual.
Schizophrenia and Addiction Treatment
The number of people with co-occurring disorders of schizophrenia and addiction is high. Although these conditions typically appear together, the reasons for why they do can be entirely different. Some people use drugs to help them deal with schizophrenia and “feel normal.” Many people with schizophrenia want to feel less depressed or relaxed. These are the same reasons why anyone uses addictive drugs, which seems to indicate that some schizophrenic people come to drug use in the same way those without the condition do.
On the other hand, some drugs of misuse cause changes in brain chemistry. This can increase the risk of addiction in people with a family history of schizophrenia and cause schizophrenia to appear for the first time. Regardless of which came first, schizophrenia or addiction, when the conditions co-occur, they worsen all symptoms. For example, people with schizophrenia may experience the following:
- Visual disturbances
- Confused thoughts or speech
- Trouble concentrating
Addictive drugs can cause some of these symptoms or worsen the underlying schizophrenia symptoms. This can make it harder for those with schizophrenia to seek treatment for their addiction and vice versa.
At Michael’s House, we understand the challenges of schizophrenia and addiction. Schizophrenia and addiction treatment in Palm Springs, California, offers specialized therapy sessions to address both conditions simultaneously, leading to a higher likelihood of long-term recovery success. In addition to individual and group therapy, we offer medication management and holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy.
Programs that address addiction and a mental condition are often referred to as co-occurring disorder treatment programs and can be quite helpful. In many of these programs, patients are encouraged to use their minds instead of medications to gain control of both conditions. While this therapy can help deal with some types of mental disorders, research suggests that people with schizophrenia need a slightly different approach.
Since chemical imbalances cause schizophrenia in the brain, medications prescribed by consulting physicians can effectively alleviate symptoms. Many different medications can be used, and often patients and their doctors must undergo a period of experimentation until they find a combination that provides reasonable control and reduced side effects. Still, the National Institute on Mental Health reports that most people feel significantly better within six weeks of starting treatment. In most cases, people must take medications to control schizophrenia for the rest of their lives.
Schizophrenia and Addiction Counseling
When symptoms of paranoia or psychosis have subsided, therapy can help schizophrenic patients to learn more about their disease and what they must do to keep it under control. People in therapy might be encouraged to:
- Take medications as directed by consulting physicians
- Build communication skills
- Reduce day-to-day stress and tension
- Refuse to relapse to drug use
- Set and achieve goals
At Michael’s House, our schizophrenia and addiction counseling incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and mindfulness techniques to help patients better manage their symptoms and achieve long-term recovery. We also offer family therapy to educate loved ones on the realities of schizophrenia and how they can best support their loved ones.
Family therapy can also play an essential role in a program for addiction and schizophrenia. Therapy can help families process this dysfunction and reduce stress levels. It also allows the entire group to learn more about addiction and mental health conditions. At Michael’s House, we are dedicated to providing the personalized treatment necessary for long-term recovery success.
Finding Care for Schizophrenia and Addiction at Michael’s House
It might be easy to assume that the addiction will disappear once a proper treatment plan for schizophrenia is found. People addicted to drugs often have such severe challenges from addiction that they can’t control their schizophrenia. Their brains may call out for the drugs, and their bodies are somewhat helpless to resist. That’s why proper treatment is so necessary.
If you have addictions and schizophrenia, we’d like to help you at Michael’s House. Therapists can integrate mental health treatment with addiction care and help patients develop life skills they can use in the fight against schizophrenia and addiction. We also provide family therapy and have an active alumni program once formal treatment has ended. Contact us at 760.548.4032 to find out more about treatment programs.