Mental Health Series: Schizophrenia and Addiction

In the 2001 biographical movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” we watch Nobel Prize-winning economist John Nash develop paranoid schizophrenia, which leads him to have delusions that eventually cost him his career, friends, and family. Fortunately for Nash, he recovered later in life — he didn’t also have a drug addiction, which causes even greater suffering for schizophrenics.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that causes people to lose touch with reality. Common symptoms include paranoid or delusional thinking, hallucinations, trouble concentrating or thinking clearly, social isolation, flat emotions, and a lack of motivation.

It’s no wonder that many people with schizophrenia turn to drugs and alcohol to cope or “self-medicate.” However, this can be a dangerous path, and one that often leads to not getting effective treatment for either schizophrenia or drug addiction. At Cornerstone, we offer dual diagnosis treatment to address a co-occurring disorder along with addiction — offering a better chance at full and lasting recovery. We specialize in treating those who have addiction and also depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other severe mental health conditions.

Schizophrenia and Addiction

There is a high level of overlap between schizophrenia and addiction. Studies say that about half of schizophrenics have a drug addiction. Because the same dopamine brain pathways are involved in both schizophrenia and drug use, taking cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana can trigger a psychotic episode. Nicotine is the drug used most by schizophrenics, and some researchers believe it improves mental functions and processes; however, it can also reduce the effectiveness of antipsychotic medication. Using marijuana has also been found to make schizophrenic symptoms worse.

Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

What’s most frustrating about a co-occurring diagnosis is that many people are in denial about their mental health disorder, drug addiction, or both. Drug use can make schizophrenic symptoms worse, and it can also trigger latent disease. Using drugs or alcohol can compromise the treatment of schizophrenia — and, it’s difficult to stay on a treatment regimen if you’re using. Our dual diagnosis treatment program treats both disorders simultaneously for the best possible chance at recovery.

What does our program offer?

Our dual diagnosis treatment program at Cornerstone focuses on all areas of your recovery, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Our highly trained staff includes specialists in the areas of addiction and mental health disorders. We have a medical director, psychiatrist, a certified physician’s assistant, nurses, licensed mental health counselors, social workers, certified addiction professionals and counselors, certified behavioral health technicians, and certified recovery and family coaches. Working from a dual diagnosis perspective, our staff can help your loved one recover from their addiction while also treating a co-occurring mental health condition.

At Cornerstone, it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. We develop individualized therapies targeted to each person’s specific mental health diagnoses and circumstances surrounding the addiction. If you or a loved one needs help dealing with any kind of co-occurring mental health disorder and addiction, contact Cornerstone Recovery Center today for private admissions counseling. Call confidentially 1-888-711-0354 or contact us online.