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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Schizophrenia: Dual Diagnosis


Dual Diagnosis describes a patient who has both a mental illness and an addiction to either alcohol or drugs. Mental illnesses include: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. It affects one percent of the American population. Here are some facts you should know about Dual Diagnosis and schizophrenia...

About 50 percent of people living with a mental illness have a substance abuse problem. In fact, a 1994 study found that 47 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia have Dual Diagnosis. The Royal College of Psychiatry found that people with schizophrenia are more likely to abuse alcohol. Another study in 2003 discovered that people with schizophrenia are six times more likely to abuse drugs. The most common drug of choice (in the order of popularity) is alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. The substance abuse is higher among males, ages 18 to 44. Among those who have a Dual Diagnosis they are more prone to violence, either domestic violence or suicide attempts. Substance abuse accounts for 37 percent of all suicides, and 77 percent of people who have schizophrenia and commit suicide are males.

Why do people with a mental illness abuse drugs?...Recreation use just like everyone else or to overcome symptoms and side effects of medication. Drugs may temporarily treat anxiety, depression, and stress. However, drugs could also worsen symptoms in the long-run.

Does drugs cause a person to have schizophrenia. No, but they can share similar symptoms to a mental illness.

Were these statistics shocking to you, why or why not?

Resources:

9 comments:

novice_blogger said...

very informative post. I had never heard the term "dual-diagnosis", I think people use mind altering substance to escape from reality. But in the longer run it always has horrible side-effects in the long run.
novice_blogger
http://kewlblogger.blogspot.com

TC said...

Very nicely done. You write well. I'm still reading it.
I haven't had anything but mild depression, it wasn't mild to me!! But your struggles are familiar to anyone who has any form of mental illness.
Keep up the good work and your life seems to be getting back on track. Congratulations!! I'm commenting on the blog too.

The Drifter said...

Hello,

Thank You for your comment. I am pleased you liked that piece.

Chris said...

Hi Ashley,

Scary statistics, particularly about 77 percent of those with SZ who commit suicide being males.

Your blog is a must-read.

Regards,
Chris

Wandering Coyote said...

Nope, none of those stats surprise me, though they sadden me.

Anonymous Drifter said...

A lot of people with mental illness are also smokers. Smoking somehow alleviates anxiety. Another drug of choice.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

I was a little surprised at how high the numbers were, but not much. Self-medicating is just too easy/available an option when one is struggling.

RodericWilliams said...

Hello,

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm actually somewhat familiar with schizophrenia because I'm a counselor and we talk about mental illness in my grad school classes and at the place where I did my internship. I must say you have overcome a great deal and it's refreshing to see that your outlook is positive and you did not allow the illness to consume you. I commend you for your sheer will and overcoming tremendous adversity.

Take Care,

Roderic

Valash said...

Novice_blogger- I am glad you got something out of it.

TC- Thank you very much for the compliment, they are what keep me going.

The Drifter- Thank you for stopping by.

Chris- I agree, the stats are scary.

Wandering Coyote- They sadden me too.

Elizabeth B. Alexander- Thanks for following my blog.

Roderic Williams- Thank you.

I appreciate all comments and encourage you to visit this blog again!