Schizophrenia is not a singular diagnosis but a disorder that is characterized by a number of different types. Paranoid type schizophrenia is defined by the patient’s unwavering belief that someone or something is conspiring to harm him. This is usually the primary obsession of the person and even with evidence to the contrary, he will tend to believe that almost every stranger and even his closest loved ones are involved in a complicated conspiracy to hurt him in some way.
Too often, those who struggle with this and other forms of schizophrenia seek to find relief from the high levels of anxiety and stress that characterize the disorder by abusing drugs and alcohol. The result can be erratic behavior and a level of risk-taking that courts health problems and worsened mental health symptoms.
If your loved one is struggling with schizophrenia and substance abuse, the time is now to seek treatment that can help him overcome both disorders.
Schizophrenia makes it difficult for patients to recognize what is real and what is not. Patients often struggle with social interactions, finding it difficult to exhibit the appropriate emotional response in different situations or behave in a socially acceptable fashion.
Paranoid schizophrenics, specifically, often struggle in social situations, remaining reserved as they assess other people’s motivations and determine whether or not they are a threat and in on the conspiracy against them that they believe that others are planning. Though everyone assesses others in conversation, the person with paranoid schizophrenia assesses others within the context of their delusions without the ability to consider that there is a reality outside the constructs that their disorder has created.
Some of the primary signs of paranoid type schizophrenia, according to Medline Plus, are delusions that others are plotting against them and/or the people they love. No amount of argument or evidence will convince them that they are not being targeted by anyone. Often, the majority of the patient’s time is spent planning how to protect himself from the perceived plan of attack.
Additionally, patients with paranoid schizophrenia may:
- Exhibit signs of great anxiety
- Be suspicious of new people
- Have delusions of grandeur (e.g., believe that they are more important to other people than they are)
- Have auditory hallucinations
- Isolate themselves from others, including friends and family
- Be unreasonably jealous of others
It’s important to note that paranoid schizophrenia differs from other types of schizophrenia in that patients rarely exhibit the rambling speech patterns or behaviors that other schizophrenia patients experience.
Substance Abuse and Schizophrenia
Mental health disorders and substance abuse very often go hand in hand. It’s not uncommon for patients who struggle with significant symptoms – especially symptoms of high stress like paranoia and anxiety – to attempt to use drugs or alcohol to mitigate the overwhelming nature of those symptoms.
Those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia often have a difficult time because the signs of schizophrenia are far more obvious than the substance abuse issue so treatment for schizophrenia alone is often attempted first. However, it can take some time and dedication to get the medications just right, and many patients do not like how the meds make them feel and stop taking them while sabotaging their ability to succeed in treatment by continuing to drink or use drugs.
It is important, when both diagnoses are present, that the patient gets help from a dual diagnosis treatment program to address both issues comprehensively at the same time. Contact us today to talk with one of our admissions coordinators about the options available to your loved one in dual diagnosis rehab.