Since addiction has many psychological symptoms, many have wondered whether it could be caused by mental disorders, especially when recognizing symptoms of schizophrenia in alcoholics.. Conversely, one might also wonder if it’s not an addiction that’s the result of some other, preexisting affliction. Moreover, there’s evidence to indicate some possible relationship or correlation between alcoholism and schizophrenia.
In short, individuals who suffer from alcohol dependency have been observed and documented while experiencing certain symptoms of this incredibly destructive mental disorder. As such, the following will define schizophrenia and explain how alcoholism might be related to such mental health disorders as schizophrenia.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Most people will have heard of schizophrenia and may even have their own ideas as to what the disease actually is, but the average layperson tends to have a very simplistic concept of schizophrenia. The simplest definition of schizophrenia is a chronic and severely disabling disorder of the brain in which individuals often experience a variety of delusions and hallucinations. The speech of individuals suffering from schizophrenia is often incomprehensible as they speak about hallucinations and delusions that nobody else can see or understand. However, it’s often this disjointed and confusing speech that alerts others to an individual’s having a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia.
According to statistics, schizophrenia occurs in approximately one percent of the population; however, if an individual has a blood relative with the disorder, the chance of developing schizophrenia becomes 10 percent. In terms of the disease’s actual cause, scientists have attempted to locate a singular gene that could be responsible for schizophrenia, but insofar they’ve been unsuccessful.
The available findings suggest that there are a number of genes that could potentially contribute to an individual developing schizophrenia. In particular, there are certain genes responsible for producing important brain chemicals that may likely be involved in the development of schizophrenia, particularly when the gene malfunctions.
It’s also been found that the majority of individuals who suffer from schizophrenia have some sort of rare genetic mutation, suggesting that schizophrenia could be the result of a number of biological anomalies rather than attributable to a singular cause.
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Sharing a number of similarities with psychological disorders, addiction has been found to frequently occur in individuals who also suffer from a mental or emotional disorder. The term “comorbid” is used to describe an illness that develops either in relation to or independent of a co-occurring, or comorbid, disorder, such as substance use disorder.
Statistics have indicated some sort of relationship between substance abuse and mental illness. At least 50 percent of individuals who suffer from a psychological disorder also suffer from an alcohol or drug addiction. By comparison, less than 20 percent of the population suffers from a mental illness and approximately 10 percent of the population suffers from chemical dependency.
Recognizing Symptoms of Schizophrenia in Alcoholics
It’s widely accepted that there’s a complicated relationship between substance abuse and a variety of mental illnesses. There have been an exceptionally high number of instances in which people can recognize symptoms of schizophrenia in alcoholics.
In particular, a number of alcoholics have begun to experience hallucinations and delusions, which are symptoms of schizophrenia and similar schizo-affective disorders. While such symptoms are not uncommon when alcoholics are in alcohol withdrawal and/or experiencing the withdrawal-related condition known as delirium tremens, these symptoms have also been reported when alcoholics are actually under the influence of alcohol rather than in withdrawal.
Alcohol has often been characterized as a powerful neurotoxin, which indicates the destructive effects that it can have on one’s brain. After years of frequent and heavy drinking, an alcoholic’s brain could begin to experience a variety of symptoms or conditions. Symptoms of schizophrenia in alcoholics can manifest due to prolonged alcohol dependence are attributed to alcohol-related psychosis. A similar condition called alcohol idiosyncratic intoxication could also explain or partly account for such symptoms.
An important issue concerning schizophrenic symptoms in alcoholics is determining whether the individual is actually experiencing schizophrenia or whether the symptoms have been brought on by the individual’s drinking. It’s important to make this distinction because one requires psychological treatment and the likely aid of psychotropic medications while the other would subside when the individual ceases their drinking.
When an alcoholic is experiencing symptoms of alcohol-related schizophrenia—delusions and hallucinations—they will exhibit much less of the functional and organizational impairments that characterize an actual schizophrenic. Additionally, the schizophrenic symptoms will often be accompanied by either depressive states or intermittent anxiety while the individual remains mostly lucid.
In contrast, full schizophrenia is known to cause severe cognitive impairments, disorganized thoughts and speech, and extremely poor decision-making skills and insight in addition to the hallmark hallucinations and delusions. Again, symptoms of schizophrenia in alcoholics are brought on by a drinking problem and have been found to almost always be alleviated by the individual’s cessation of alcohol consumption.
Need Addiction Treatment? Call Us Now
Habitual substance abuse can be the cause of a wide variety of physical and psychological health problems, which can range from the mild to the severely debilitating. However, individuals suffering from substance abuse problems don’t have to continue living that way.
At Drug Treatment Center Finder, it’s our goal to match those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction to the programs that best address their individual recovery needs. For more information or for a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 855-619-8070. It takes just one call to begin your journey to a better, healthier life.