Alcohol And Schizophrenia
People suffering from schizophrenia, like many with mental health conditions, are likely to turn to alcohol abuse as a form of self-medication. This can quickly turn into a dependency.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder, believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, that affects how a person perceives the world around them. This often means that a person with schizophrenia will see, hear, or even smell things that aren’t there. Schizophrenia can also cause something known as a “flat affect,” a reduced expression of emotion, though the mechanism behind this is unclear.
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, schizophrenia and paranoia are not the same thing. However, it is common for someone with schizophrenia to develop the latter. This is known as paranoid schizophrenia.
for Alcohol Addiction
BetterHelp - Professional Therapy, 100% Online
Get professional help from an addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp. Start getting support via phone, video, or live-chat.
Take the Quiz. Get Matched. Begin Therapy.
Talkspace - Online Therapy On Your Schedule
Online therapy can help you with long term addiction support. Connect with a therapist
from Talkspace anytime, anywhere.
Get matched with a therapist now.
Paid Advertising. We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to promoted online therapy websites.
How Alcohol Affects People With Schizophrenia
People with any mental health disorder can be more likely to develop alcoholism. This is because of the way some alcohol impacts many disorders. For example, alcohol impacts individuals with some disorders more strongly, or it could temporarily mask their symptoms. When an underlying mental health condition is present in addition to alcoholism, it is known as a co-occurring disorder or a dual-diagnosis. In the case of individuals with schizophrenia, like everyone, alcohol dulls the senses.
The desired effects of alcohol use occur because alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This can be a great relief to someone with schizophrenia, as it dulls their senses and can make them less aware of what they are experiencing.
Not only does this dull many symptoms of schizophrenia, giving the sufferer break from what they normally experience, but studies show that alcohol can have a greater euphoric effect on them than people without the disorder. Naturally, with the increase of a “reward,” people who suffer from schizophrenia are likely to drink more as a respite from their symptoms and an increased sense of well-being. The increased consumption makes schizophrenics more susceptible to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
An alcohol use disorder will affect a schizophrenic in every way it would affect someone without the disorder, straining their relationships and health. Additionally, the symptoms of withdrawal can make their hallucinations worse, adding additional pain to what they are seeing and hearing.
Questions About Treatment?
Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance.
Help For People With Schizophrenia And Alcohol Use Disorder
Whenever it comes to any case of treating alcohol use disorder in someone with a co-occurring disorder, the already taxing process of rehabilitation becomes that much harder. In the case of a schizophrenic, alcohol has become an unhealthy coping mechanism for handling their disorder. When they work to give up alcohol, the symptoms of schizophrenia are likely to become worse. This makes it risky to try and give up alcohol on one’s own.
Alcoholics going through severe withdrawal, with no co-occurring disorders, have been known to hallucinate and become violent. (This is known as the delirium tremens, or the “DTs”) Adding the symptoms of schizophrenia to this scenario, an individual could be more likely to be a danger to themselves and others. However, this can be minimized with professional medical assistance. Having specialists help means detoxing and recovering from alcohol abuse in a safe space, where symptoms of withdrawal can be monitored and treated accordingly.
If you or someone you love suffers from alcoholism and a co-occurring disorder, like schizophrenia, contact a treatment provider today. They can help to answer questions about rehab and explore available treatment options.
Will Your Insurance Cover Rehab?
Make a decision that will change your life.Find a Center
He took control. You can too.See Jerry's Story
Questions about treatment?
Connect with a treatment provider 24/7. All calls are free and confidential.