Schizophrenics abuse alcohol and drugs much more frequently than the general population – 45% will have an SUD within their lifetime.
14% of schizophrenics are addicted/substance-dependent RIGHT NOW.
Usage rate by substance:
- Cigarettes — Between 80% and 90%
- Alcohol—65% of schizophrenics drink, and over a third have a lifetime risk of AUD.
- Marijuana— 51%
- Cocaine— 23%
- Opioids – 4%
Marijuana and Schizophrenia
Heavy marijuana usage before the age of 18 increases the risk of developing schizophrenia at some point within the next 15 years by 600%.
Smoking and Schizophrenia
After analyzing 61 different studies, King’s College in London concluded that the nicotine found in cigarettes alters the brains of genetically-susceptible individuals.
- 57% of psychotics were smokers at the time of their initial manifestation.
- People who smoke daily are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as non-smokers.
- Among schizophrenics, smokers develop the condition a year earlier than non-smokers.
Chiefly due to smoking-related health problems, schizophrenics die an average of 25 years earlier than non-schizophrenics.
Alcohol and Schizophrenia
Chronic, heavy alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol-induced psychosis, which in turn can hide developing schizophrenia. This interferes with early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Among schizophrenics, the use of alcohol is dangerous because it can lead to:
- Worsened hallucinations
- Increased aggression/hostility
- Violent/disturbed behavior
- Heightened anxiety
- Deepened depression
Cocaine and Schizophrenia
Schizophrenics may self-medicate with cocaine to relieve depression and/or anxiety, or to increase their sociability. But on the contrary, cocaine abuse impairs memory and attention, thereby deepening depression, increasing anxiety, and worsening social isolation.
Methamphetamines and Schizophrenia
After examining 10 years of hospital records in California, Canadian researchers discovered that meth users have a TRIPLED risk of schizophrenia, compared to abusers of alcohol, cocaine, or opioids.
Opioids and Schizophrenia
Schizophrenics who abuse opioids are hospitalized at a rate that is 45% higher than amphetamine abusers, and 81% higher than marijuana users.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse
With medication and support, schizophrenics can enjoy a largely-independent quality of life, but timely intervention and treatment is absolutely crucial. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner the progression of these two co-occurring disorders can be stopped, and the better the chances of a positive outcome.
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