Managing substance abuse in patients with schizophrenia

Substance abuse by people with schizophrenia has become one of the most significant problems facing clinicians and agencies involved in their treatment. The comorbidity of schizophrenia and substance abuse have attracted increasing attention over the past few years.

Multiple potential links to this have been under study including the neurobiological response, side effects of medications, genetic vulnerability and psychological factors. Patients with schizophrenia get known to abuse substances like alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and cannabis. Studies have identified heavy cannabis use as a stressor eliciting relapse in schizophrenic patients.

Excessive abuse of substances by people with schizophrenia has most of the same adverse economic, social, health and psychiatric consequences as it does for other people. Incessant substance use by patients in psychosis results in poorer outcomes, including poor treatment compliance and increased psychotic symptoms.

The high frequency of reoccurring substance use in schizophrenic patients gets linked to an increased risk of illness and injury. These patients suffer not only from impaired cognitive functioning during intoxication, it also leads to higher demand for emergency services and rates of inpatient presentation.


Smoking and individual’s use of tobacco has been studied more extensively than any form of consumption. Smoking prevalence has gotten observed to change a little since the mid-1990s due to implementing tobacco control, but smoking as a habit is predominant amongst patients with schizophrenia than in the public.

Although smoking tobacco get studied to decrease in the general population, smoking in patients with schizophrenia remains significantly high. Patients with schizophrenia smoke more cigarettes than regular individuals and also smoke more deeply. Because of this deep smoking, they increase their exposure to the harmful elements in tobacco smoke.

Impact of Smoking in Schizophrenic Patients

Like every other individual, smoking has an adverse effect on health of humans and even worse for schizophrenic patients. While one can get the best schizophrenia symptoms test in Ecuador, Smoking contributes to the reduced life expectancy in patients with schizophrenia and these patients are even at increased risk for cardiovascular disease because of high rates of cigarette smoking.

Cardiovascular diseases are one factor most strongly associated with excess mortality for schizophrenic patients. Most schizophrenic patients get known to have Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, weight gain and diabetes mellitus which may worsen the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Helping patients quit smoking

The benefits of smoking cessation are dramatic for all age groups. Those who quit smoking live years longer than those who do not quit. Smoking cessation in those with schizophrenia has been noticed to drive a reduced risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality despite the weight gain associated with abstinence.

Despite the epidemic of tobacco dependence among those with schizophrenia, Patients that smokes should get encouraged to quit smoking and should receive cessation aids. There are aids with proven efficiency and tolerability in those with schizophrenia, although there are vastly underutilized in this population.


Like many with mental health conditions, people suffering from schizophrenia are likely to turn to alcohol abuse as self-medication. Alcohol affects some individuals more strongly and could temporarily mask their symptoms, which can quickly lead into a dependency. This effect of alcohol use occurs because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Someone with schizophrenia can experience great relief as it dulls their senses and can make them less aware of what they are experiencing.

Alcohol has a greater euphoric effect on people with schizophrenia than people without the disorder. People with schizophrenia are more likely to drink more as a respite from their symptoms and an increased sense of wellbeing. This makes schizophrenics more susceptible to develop an Alcohol use disorder.

An alcohol use disorder will strain a patient with schizophrenia of their health and relationships, as it would affect individual without the disorder. The withdrawal symptoms can even make hallucinations worse for people with schizophrenia, adding an increased pain to what they are seeing and hearing.

Helping patients with schizophrenia and Alcohol use disorder

Rehabilitating someone with an Alcohol use disorder becomes more taxing in someone with a co-occurring disorder. As with most schizophrenics, alcohol intake has become an unhealthy coping mechanism for handling their disorder. When they try to work on their alcohol addiction, the symptoms of schizophrenia are likely to get worse.

Individuals that have an alcohol use addiction, with no co-occurring disorders, hallucinate and may become very violent. Adding the symptoms of schizophrenia to this scenario, a patent could be more likely to be a danger to others and themselves. However, this can get minimized with the right professional medical help. The presence of best psychotherapist for schizophrenia in Ecuador means recovering from alcohol abuse and detoxing in a safe space, where symptoms of withdrawal can get monitored closely and treated accordingly.

Related posts