Addiction and Schizophrenia: Can You Develop Schizophrenia from Drugs?

Addiction and Schizophrenia

Is it possible to develop schizophrenia from drugs? The answer is yes and no. We’ll expand on this answer in detail later on.

This guide will dive deep on what the connection is with addiction and schizophrenia. While mental illness may pre-exist addiction, could it be the other way around? It is possible, but the truth is that there may be no drug that can directly cause that.

If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, finding the right detox center will be your first step. Read more about how Gallus can help you get back on your feet and live a drug-free life that you can be proud of. Now, let’s dive in now to discuss addiction and schizophrenia to see if there is an actual connection between the two (and how it’s set up).

Schizophrenia: What is it, symptoms, etc.?


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is known to distort a person’s view of reality. Some of the common occurrences in a schizophrenic are hallucinations and delusions. Because of these signs, a person with this disorder can exhibit behaviors that are considered unusual and even unpredictable.

While substance abuse can exacerbate the issue of schizophrenia, there are some risk factors such as genetics, their environment, and their brain chemistry. It’s not always drug use that can cause schizophrenia from occurring.

Can drugs cause schizophrenia?

As mentioned before, the answer is yes and no. To address the ‘no’ of this answer, there is no drug that will directly cause schizophrenia as a short-term or long-term effect. However, there are certain drugs that will develop conditions in which the disorder can be developed.

The key thing to remember is that it’s the misuse of drugs that can trigger schizophrenia.

What kind of drugs can trigger schizophrenia?


Schizophrenia can occur if you misuse certain drugs (more specific, psychoactive drugs). These include marijuana, LSD, or amphetamines. These drugs can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in those that may be susceptible to it.

Cocaine and amphetamines have a common side effect of psychosis. This can be a threat to those who have schizophrenia or may be receiving treatment for the disorder itself. However, there are some drugs that can heighten the risk of schizophrenia including in young people.

A study has shown that young people that have used marijuana may have a higher chance of developing schizophrenia as they get older.

Drug-induced psychosis vs drug-induced schizophrenia

One of the things that tend to get confusing is whether a person is dealing with drug-induced psychosis or schizophrenia. As mentioned before, some drugs can cause psychosis. A person will feel like someone is trying to poison them (or something similar).

Once again, drug-induced psychosis will likely be the situation if someone were to suffer from symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. Since these are the same effects as schizophrenia, that’s where one is mistaken for the other.

Again, drugs do not directly cause schizophrenia. It’s the misuse of such drugs over the course of time that will heighten the chances of the disorder being formed. If a person has already been diagnosed with schizophrenia, such drugs can increase the intensity of their symptoms and thus trigger even more erratic behavior.

Mental illness and addiction: A deadly combination


With that said, a person’s mental illness may pre-exist the addiction. When the two are put together, this can be a recipe for disaster. For this reason, it is important for someone with a mental illness while dealing with an addiction to get help now rather than never at all.

Those with mental disorders while addicted to drugs will have a higher chance of committing suicide. This can be due to the fact that drugs can alter the mind and thus make someone less aware of their actions. So they may be committing an act that could end their own life and not even know it.

Many people turn to drugs to escape the pain of the mental illness they are suffering from. For example, PTSD is a mental disorder that can trigger memories of a traumatic event. As a way to escape it, some PTSD sufferers could turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.

It can get to a point where the symptoms may intensify and in turn, lead them to become more addicted to their substance of choice. The same can be said about all other disorders including schizophrenia. To that end, those with mental illness that abuse drugs may act more unusual and erratic than normal compared to others that may have no disorders at all.

It’s important that if you suffer from mental illness that you get the help you need. This includes therapy for your disorder and for your addiction as well. Depending on the treatment center you choose, you may have a combination of those services.

If you are looking for a treatment center, make sure you have access to the best care professionals you can find. This includes those who are specialists in mental health. They are best equipped to help you deal with your mental disorders.

However, you will need to see a separate specialist like a substance abuse counselor. There is no one that will wear both hats at the same time as this can get confusing. You’ll have one professional that handles your treatment for schizophrenia while another helps you kick your drug habit.

The two can work together to put together a personalized treatment plan that will coincide with your therapeutic options for your mental disorder.

Final Thoughts

Addiction may not directly cause schizophrenia. But it can make it worse if you already are diagnosed with it. It’s important to get the treatment you need through a facility that will help you tackle your addiction while addressing your needs for any mental disorder you may be dealing with.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make sure that you have access to the right people so you can live a more fulfilling life in the face of your mental disorders.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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