While almost half of people addicted to drugs or alcohol are also diagnosed with a mental health disorder, only a small fragment will suffer from something as troublesome as schizoaffective disorder and addiction.

Schizoaffective disorder can be defined by symptoms of schizophrenia—including hallucinations or delusions—and symptoms of a mood disorder, typically either depression or bipolar disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder is difficult to diagnose. In fact, many people are misdiagnosed with either a mood disorder or schizophrenia—not both. In addition, schizoaffective disorder and drug addiction can occur in tandem, and often do. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, “Co-occurring substance use disorders are a serious risk and require integrated treatment.” At Cornerstone, our qualified dual diagnosis treatment center staff knows that recovery is possible, and we can begin helping you or your loved one today.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by a period of less severe symptoms. They can vary widely between individuals.

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Paranoia
  • Behavioral problems or problems with hygiene

According to NAMI, schizoaffective disorder can be distinguished from other similar disorders if there is:

  • A period of depression or mania that happens at the same time as symptoms of schizophrenia
  • Delusions or hallucinations that last for two or more weeks without symptoms of a mood disorder
  • Symptoms of a mood disorder that are present for the majority of time that someone is ill
  • No possibility that medications are causing the symptoms

Are you Susceptible to Schizoaffective Disorder?

The onset of schizoaffective disorder usually starts in young adulthood; it is rare, though, with less than 1 percent of the population developing symptoms. Psychiatrists still don’t know what causes it, but a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stressors can impact your risk.

Schizoaffective Disorder Linked to Substance Abuse

Schizoaffective disorder often goes hand in hand with substance abuse. In fact, people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder are at risk for drug addiction. Research points to marijuana, alcohol, amphetamine, and cocaine use as triggering psychotic illnesses like schizoaffective disorder. It’s easy to imagine that people might use drugs and alcohol to cope with the fear brought on by delusions, or the depression or mania that comes with severe mood swings.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At Cornerstone, we can help. Our Co-occurring Services program is tailored to address mental health disorders and substance abuse. A dual diagnosis rehab center like Cornerstone can offer the most effective addiction therapy because we don’t focus on the symptoms alone, we treat the underlying cause, which is often the co-occurring disorder.

We develop targeted therapies for each person’s specific mental health and substance use disorders. If you or your loved one needs help dealing with any kind of mental health disorder along with addiction, please contact Cornerstone Recovery Center today for private admissions counseling. Contact us online or call 1-888-711-0354.