Schizophrenia and Addiction Treatment

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition characterized by alternating episodes of mania, depression, and delusions. Schizophrenia affects around 1% of the population with around 20 million people worldwide diagnosed. It’s more common in men and can often be quite difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, many people suffer with this condition for the majority of their young adult life before getting the proper treatment. It affects every part of a person’s life, including their ability to think, feel, and behave.

People with an addiction abuse drugs to the point where they feel they cannot stop even if they wanted to. When someone suffers from schizophrenia and addiction, the negative effects of both are intensified. Those seeking treatment for drug addiction that suffer from schizophrenia require a dual diagnosis and potentially drug induced psychosis recovery treatment so both disorders are equally attended too.

These co-occurring conditions complicate the mental and physical effects of both, and treating one without the other will lead to incomplete treatment. The Key To Recovery has advanced treatment programs in California that address co-occurring conditions to help those suffering from drug abuse and mental health conditions achieve the strongest foundation for lifetime recovery. 

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia and AddictionSchizophrenia is a complicated and misunderstood brain disorder that usually appears in the early teenage years to the mid twenties. While the stereotypical understanding of this condition is having a split personality or multiple personalities, it’s much more complex than that.

Schizophrenia, when active, is characterized by episodes of being unable to distinguish reality from imagined states of being. When the individual is in this delusional state, some of the symptoms and behaviors they may exhibit include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Episodes of mania
  • Episodes of depression
  • Intense burst of heightened emotions
  • Paranoia 
  • Abnormal motor function (slurred speech, spacing out, trouble walking)
  • Decrease in the desire to interact with other people or be productive

Schizophrenic episodes usually exhibit a combination of these symptoms all at once. Oftentimes, these symptoms mimic conditions like manic depression, bi-polar disorder, and anxiety. This can make it hard for doctors to diagnose schizophrenia in the early stages. 

When schizophrenia is active, the individual will likely be unaware that they are behaving erratically. Their hallucinations or paranoid thoughts will feel very real and important to them, and any sign of people not believing or feeling the same might cause rage or anger. It can be very frustrating for the individual suffering from schizophrenia to try and be understood. 

Risk Factors of Schizophrenia and Drug Induced Psychosis

Researchers have found a number of different environmental and genetic factors that could lead to schizophrenia. Since it is classified as a brain disease, the first risk factor is having the genetic mutation. While it’s not always passed down through families, if you have a family history of this disease or other personality disorders, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.  Some other risk factors for schizophrenia include:

  • Neurochemical irregularities
  • Prenatal malnutrition
  • High stress or trauma
  • Environmental factors like lead or mold exposure
  • Certain viral infections

People suffering from schizophrenia are about four times more likely to develop an addiction. While it is possible for addiction to come first, almost always the mental illness comes first and leads to the addiction. There have been known episodes of drug induced psychosis that has led to long-lasting schizophrenia and a need for drug induced psychosis recovery treatment.

People suffering from schizophrenia turn to drug abuse as a means of coping with their high levels of stress and anxiety caused by their illness. While studies have shown that many people who have been diagnosed did abuse drugs prior to the onset of their disease, some researchers do not believe that drugs directly cause these types of conditions. 

It’s more likely that if someone is already experiencing schizophrenic episodes, that drug abuse can lead to a need for drug induced psychosis recovery treatment. This creates a confusion of whether the psychotic episodes are stemming from addiction or mental illusion.  

Drugs Associated With Schizophrenia and Drug Induced Psychosis Recovery Treatment 


Alcohol is a common drug abused by people with schizophrenia. It’s legal and easily purchased, and also numbs some of the side effects of the mental illness. Its danger lies in that it can worsen symptoms of motor function, depression, and dissociation. It also causes intense physical effects and is dangerous when abused. If someone suffers from schizophrenia and abuses alcohol, it can cause drug induced paranoid schizophrenia in times they would not otherwise have an episode. 


Cannabis, otherwise referred to as marijuana, is a common drug that worsens symptoms of schizophrenia. Although legal in many places, marijuana alone creates hallucinations,  disordered thinking, and psychosis. It numbs many parts of the nervous system while stimulating others. This erratic combination can intensify similar schizophrenic side effects. Research has shown that it is much more difficult to treat schizophrenia if the individual is using cannabis. Drug induced paranoid schizophrenia is common with cannabis as it often leads to extreme paranoia and dissociation. 


Nicotine is one of the most common drugs abused around the world. It’s seen as a “safe” drug but in reality, it causes health issues and can worsen mental illness. It is extremely common for people with mental illness to abuse cigarettes or other nicotine products. Since it creates an immediate stimulation in the nervous system and feels good brain receptors, people are drawn to the immediate high.

Overdosing on nicotine may not cause fatalities, but it can result in severe physical health conditions making drug induced psychosis recovery treatment necessary. Nicotine has been shown to increase the frequency of hallucinations and mood swings. This has likely contributed to nicotine’s effect on blood flow to the brain and its interruption in normal hormonal function. 

What Is a Dual Diagnosis? 

What Is a Dual DiagnosisA dual diagnosis is when two conditions occur at the same time, each contributing to the other. If someone is suffering from co-occurring addiction and schizophrenia disorder, it’s crucial that they are professionally evaluated then diagnosed by a clinical doctor. Receiving a dual diagnosis can be intimidating, but having both conditions considered when coming up with a treatment plan is crucial.

Once there is the presence of addiction and a mental health condition like schizophrenia, each condition affects the severity and symptoms of the other. Treating one without taking the other into full consideration increases the chances of an unsuccessful recovery.

Many side effects of drugs can mimic those of schizophrenia and vice versa.  It’s difficult to determine where the symptoms are stemming without a dual diagnosis evaluation.

Substance abuse can significantly increase the severity of personality disorders and their  behaviors, and even form new ones. For this reason and more, a professional should perform a thorough mental and physical evaluation in order to understand which disorder is creating which reactions. Once the client and doctor are in understanding of the foundation of each co-occurring disorder, a personalized treatment plan that successfully addresses the patient’s needs can be implemented.

Schizophrenia and Addiction Treatment at The Key To Recovery 

The Key To Recovery understands that if someone is suffering from addiction and schizophrenia, their treatment plan needs to be designed with both of these conditions in mind. We have treatment plans directly created for those with a dual diagnosis. Our different treatment options include different types of therapy that address the root cause of both addiction and schizophrenia in order to fully understand and heal the individual. Some of the treatment services we offer include:

  • Detox: Detox is the first step to recovery and will cleanse the body of any and all substances abused.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: Some medications may be prescribed to address schizophrenia and any other co-occurring mental health conditions. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): These styles of therapy help to  work through past traumas, emotional wounds, and current recovery challenges by addressing self-destructive thoughts. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is based on a concept “dialectics” that works to see how things are connected. It can help people build mindfulness, tolerance, interpersonal skills, and emotional regulation. 
  • Fitness and Nutritional Therapy: Fitness and Nutrition will help rebuild the immune system, recover the body from environmental toxins, and improve organ function. Strengthening the body and mind will improve overall health. Hormonal regulation from nutrition therapy may also benefit mental health. 
  • Experiential Therapy: This style of therapy addresses the emotional self through play with art, role playing, animal care, and other activities that help release your inhibitions and walls to reconnect with your true open self. 
  • Relapse Prevention: Relapse prevention programs give you the tools to keep your recovery a lifelong commitment. 

How Do Our Services Address Schizophrenia and Addiction?

Addiction TreatmentMedication is used to address the brain chemical aspect of schizophrenia, but will be carefully monitored to ensure it does not feed into any pre-existing addictions. Licensed professionals cano adjust doses and types of medication to meet the individual needs of patients, always keeping both conditions in mind.

Working closely with a therapist and psychologist will enable individuals to address both schizophrenia and addiction. Talking through your emotional and physical history can help doctors get to the root of your co-occuring conditions, which can aid in discovering how to overcome them. Unresolved childhood trauma, insecurities, genetics, and PTSD from past experiences can be a major factor in the development of both conditions. 

The emotional and spiritual self is just as important in a dual diagnosis as the physical self. Holistic treatments such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and herbal therapy can each greatly improve stress levels and emotional awareness.  Building up your inner strength can further enable clients to overcome both  mental health challenges and addiction related challenges throughout their treatment program. 

Start Your Recovery Today 

People suffering from a dual diagnosis of schizophrenia and  addiction know that everyday can feel like climbing a mountain. When someone is dealing with two conditions that both intensify the other, it can be overwhelming. Our clinically trained professionals have extensive knowledge in treating both addiction and mental health conditions. If you or a loved one is looking for evidence-based treatment for schizophrenia and addiction, contact us for more information on our dual diagnosis programs.