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Schizophrenia And Alcohol

Schizophrenia And Alcohol

Schizophrenia has often been associated with alcohol abuse. In fact, this psychological disorder is responsible for many similar addiction problems. Smoking cigarettes is the addiction with the highest engagement in schizophrenic individuals, while alcohol is the second most popular problem. According to some recent studies, it seems that up to 30% of all schizophrenic patients suffer from an alcohol addiction. Even if a person does not currently suffer from alcoholism, there is a chance that they’ve had such problems in the past. When it comes to the general population, only 10% of all people are affected by an alcohol-related problem, so the prevalence of a current or past drinking problem is extremely high in the schizophrenia population.

The Effects of Alcohol Over Schizophrenics

Schizophrenics can hear an unusual sound and feel tensed throughout the day.  They tend to rely on alcohol because it has the ability to soothe and relax their mind.

As if schizophrenia was not harmful enough, scientists have also revealed a lot of problematic consequences caused by the dual-diagnosis with an alcohol disorder and mental illness. Most importantly, once inside the body, alcohol can conflict with the positive effects of schizophrenia medications. They lose their intensity and may become completely neutralized and inert. This is why alcohol is strictly forbidden whenever a treatment is prescribed. On a different note, the physical morbidity is also taken to a new level when alcohol is combined with schizophrenia. The admissions to hospital grow in frequency as well, since the treatment has become somewhat ineffective. Unsurprisingly, schizophrenia patients who do not require hospitalization present an increased chance to find themselves involved in criminal activities, even by accident regardless of their good-hearted nature. A few other negative consequences include suicide attempts, self-harm, poor insight into one’s own cognition and awareness, and psychosocial dysfunctions in relationships and careers. They also experience an elevated intensity of psychosis compared to those patients who are not dealing with substance use disorder.

Factors That Lead to Alcohol Abuses in Schizophrenics

Unfortunately for the patients, the medical world cannot really make a proper connection between schizophrenia and alcohol. Some patients develop an alcohol addiction, while others do not. Which patients are more likely to experience these problems?  What symptoms lead to this, or does it have to do with previous life experiences? It is hard to know and the correlative factors aren’t very specific.

According to some research, a general age range, gender, and family history are the main risk factors. There is nothing clear and concise about these factors, however.  Obviously, there are only two genders and the correlations aren’t incredibly strong. On a different note, a more recent study with various population groups isolating for differing variables has come up with a few other conclusions.

Summarily, a low educational achievement is very likely to prevent schizophrenic patients from resisting the overuse of alcohol. Contrarily, violent offending and other related issues are very likely to direct patients to an alcohol addiction.

There are a few obvious differences between the “standard” schizophrenia and schizophrenia mixed with alcohol abuse. For instance, the alcohol-related cases of schizophrenia manifest itself much later than regular schizophrenia when the addiction came first. The symptoms are also more aggressive. Depression and anxiety are more severe and problematic. On the other hand, the positive symptoms are more likely to present themselves than negative signs. The functional impairment is a lot less severe as well.

It is worth noting that the alcohol consumption in schizophrenic patients is perfectly normal to a particular point. Everyone has a glass of wine or beer occasionally, whether it comes to a birthday party or a heavy meal with the family. However, consumption becomes an actual problem when alcohol brings in extra symptoms, such as more sleep, delusions, hallucinations, or aggression, or bipolar disorder. There is a true alcohol problem when these symptoms are followed by amnesia (blacking out) as well.

Schizophrenia and Alcohol Abuse: Treatment

Note that substance abuse can actually involve both drugs and alcohol. However, those patients dealing with alcohol abuse specifically are expected to undergo a treatment designed particularly for such disorder. The same is true for those who are using drugs. These are done simultaneously with the patient’s treatment for schizophrenia.

The dual diagnosis treatment of schizophrenia and substance abuse starts with the detox period followed by a series of different treatment plans that may include medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, family involvement, and substance refusal skills training among others.

Final Thoughts on Schizophrenia and Alcohol

Schizophrenia is a severe condition, and there is no instant cure that could disappear the disease in one person. However, treatment really can help. Health medications can help to correct the chemical imbalances in people who have schizophrenia. Family or friends support can even be vital, as it might help people them to connect with others and learn how others have controlled this severe disease.

The point is that alcohol has an interesting relationship with schizophrenia.  Alcohol abuse can come before the onset of schizophrenia, but can be a symptom of it as well as people attempt to escape their problems.  Unfortunately, it only exacerbates things.  The truly eye-opening statistic is that, for those with schizophrenia, the alcohol abuse rate reaches a staggering 30% where as it hangs around 10% for the general population.  More research must be performed, but there’s obviously something going on here.  Please do not consume alcohol if you deal with schizophrenia!

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