Understanding Drug-Induced Schizophrenia: Causes and Treatment

Drug-Induced Schizophrenia

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in America is living with a mental illness?

Of course, these vary in severity. Some mental illnesses are very mild and easy to live with, while others can make every day a struggle. 

One mental illness that can be more severe is drug-induced schizophrenia. But, just because it can be tough doesn’t mean it’s impossible to live with. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed, the first step to regaining control of life is learning about the illness.

Find out more in our guide.

Psychosis vs Schizophrenia

Before learning more about schizophrenia, let’s first clear up the difference between this mental illness and psychosis. Psychosis can be a symptom of schizophrenia, but it’s not a standalone illness. It’s a state of mind where individuals receive false sensations, such as hallucinations.

Drug-induced psychosis is common, but it’s very different from drug-induced schizophrenia. Drug-induced psychosis is usually temporary and, if not, is the symptom of an underlying condition. 

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a very complex mental disorder that sees similar hallucinations to psychosis. People suffering from schizophrenia may see or hear things that aren’t there, like people in a room. They may also have delusions, such as believing someone is after them or that they are the son of God.

Often, sufferers of schizophrenia will also show antisocial behavior. This includes, involuntary movements, not being able to understand speech, or speaking in an incomprehensible way themselves. In very severe cases, it can even lead to catatonia.

There are a number of causes of schizophrenia, including genetics, childhood trauma, and complications during pregnancy. There’s also drug-induced schizophrenia, which we’ll move onto now.

Drug-Induced Schizophrenia

Some cases of schizophrenia are brought on by drug use. The use of cannabis, amphetamines, and other drugs seem to trigger the schizophrenic gene. Severe psychosis can occur with repeated episodes occurring later when the drug is out of their system.

One study, found that 21% of people who had an episode of drug induced psychosis were later diagnosed with schizophrenia. It remains unknown why drugs can trigger schizophrenia, but individuals are more likely if there is a family history. 

Which Drugs Can Cause Schizophrenia?

Various studies have looked into which drugs can trigger schizophrenia, and there’s actually a wide range. In some cases, alcohol has been found to trigger it, which might come as a surprise!

The most common drugs associated with causing schizophrenia are cannabis (weed) and hallucinogens (like acid, LCD etc.). But, pretty much every drug can trigger it, unfortunately. Even sedatives and prescription medication could lead to psychosis and an eventual diagnosis of schizophrenia.

How Can You Treat Schizophrenia?

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug-induced schizophrenia, it doesn’t mean that your life is over; far from it! With the right treatment, knowledge, and support you can still live a normal and happy life. 

Treating schizophrenia usually starts with medication. There are various medication options that can help reduce psychosis, preventing hallucinations and delusions so that you can live normally. Medication and therapy is usually can help you to understand the illness. Dealing with your emotions, and find coping mechanisms will help you through any psychosis episodes or times of mental instability. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular choice of therapy for those with psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. It can help you to manage your emotions and issues by altering the way you think, feel, and behave, giving you more control over your mind. Group therapy is another great option, giving you a support system of people who understand and letting you share your experiences openly with others. 

There are also more alternative therapies available, like art and music therapy. These are brilliant for those who might struggle to express their feelings verbally and can help both the patient and the therapist to better understand the roots of their actions. It can also become a coping mechanism, giving you something to focus on and soothe yourself with. 

What Should You Do If You Have Drug-Induced Schizophrenia?

If you or someone you know might be suffering from drug-induced schizophrenia, the first thing you need to do is have it confirmed by a medical professional. Once you’re certain of what the problem is, you can start looking for treatment options. The medical professional who diagnosed you or your loved one should be able to help you with this, as can our team at the Mental Health Center of San Diego

Get in Touch With Us

Drug-induced schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that, if left untreated, could take over the life of the person diagnosed. For that reason, it’s so important to look into different treatment options as soon as you have a diagnosis.

At The Mental Health Center of San Diego you will get the highest level of treatment of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

We’ll be happy to help you with your next steps. Get in touch with us today for more advice or to start the process to get treatment for yourself or someone you know.

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