Treatment professionals are waiting for your call:

(855) 826-4464

Schizophrenia and Addiction

Research has found that a high number of people with schizophrenia also struggle with addiction. Treatment for these co-occurring disorders typically involves psychotherapy, substance abuse counseling, medication and support groups.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Treatment Center Locator

Paid Advertising

Lakeland Behavioral Health System

Springfield, MO

Multiple Levels of Care


Cross Creek Hospital

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care


Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry

Columbus, OH

Multiple Levels of Care


Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care


Spring Hill Recovery

Ashby, MA

Full Spectrum of Care


Options Behavioral Health Hospital

Indianapolis, IN

Multiple Levels of Care


Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care


Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care


Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care


Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Trustpoint Hospital

Murfreesboro, TN

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged – Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care


Northlake Behavioral Health System

Baton Rouge, LA

Full Spectrum of Care


Colorado Medicated Assisted Recovery

Thornton, CO

Intensive Outpatient


Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care


Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital

Chandler, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care


Steps Recovery Center – St. George

St. George, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


Wish Recovery

Northridge, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


The Detox Center

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems

Lafayette, LA

Multiple Levels of Care


Pacific Grove Hospital

Riverside, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Covington Behavioral Health Hospital

Covington, LA

Multiple Levels of Care


Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Bedrock Recovery Center

Canton, MA

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN



Moonlight Mountain Recovery – Nampa

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care


San Jose Behavioral Health Hospital

San Jose, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Boca Recovery Center – Florida

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


North Palm Beach Recovery Center

North Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital

Tukwila, WA

Multiple Levels of Care


Harbor Oaks Hospital

New Balitmore, MI



Steps Recovery Center

Payson, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Annie’s House

Draper, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


Asheville Recovery Center

Asheville, NC

Multiple Levels of Care


Atlantic Recovery Center

Davie, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care


Riverwoods Behavioral Health System

Riverdale, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

Multiple Levels of Care


SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care


What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects about one percent of all Americans—an estimated two million adults.

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia are often unable to distinguish the imaginary from reality.

People with schizophrenia may have difficulty responding to various social situations in an emotionally appropriate manner. This often results in issues with interpersonal relationships or in other major areas of their life, such as at work or school.

Schizophrenia is sometimes confused with multiple personality disorder (MPD). However, the overwhelming majority of people suffering from schizophrenia do not have multiple personalities and are not violent, which is more common among those with MPD.

Don't Let Covid-19 Stop You from Getting Help

Rehabs are still open!

While the direct cause of the disorder is still unknown, researchers believe it is linked to the following factors:

  • Genetics

    Schizophrenia tends to run in families. In fact, it occurs in 10 percent of people with a first-degree family member, such as a sibling or parent, who have the disorder. Researchers believe certain genes inherited from one’s parents may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. Scientists have also found that people with schizophrenia often have rare genetic mutations that may disrupt brain development.

  • Brain structure and chemistry

    Imbalances of certain chemicals in the brain, such as glutamate, serotonin and dopamine, are linked to schizophrenia. These imbalances affect the way the brain reacts to stimuli and can lead to hypersensitivity and hallucinations—common symptoms of schizophrenia. Scientists have found small differences in the brain structure of those with schizophrenia, as well. These differences include decreased gray matter, enlarged ventricles (cavities in the center of the brain filled with fluid), and increased or decreased activity in some areas of the brain.

  • Environmental factors

    Some scientists believe a person’s environment combined with genetics may also play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Environmental factors may include health related problems occurring during birth such as exposure to infections, viruses or malnutrition. Other unknown psychosocial factors may contribute, as well.

Schizophrenia and Addiction

Schizophrenia and addiction, or substance use disorder, often co-occur. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of individuals suffering from schizophrenia have a history of substance abuse.

People with schizophrenia often engage in substance abuse as a way to self-medicate or alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.

Although substance abuse cannot cause schizophrenia, it can act as an environmental trigger. Someone with existing genetic risk factors for the disorder may develop an active case of schizophrenia after extended substance abuse. Using drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines, can also exacerbate schizophrenic symptoms and worsen their severity.

Schizophrenia is often mistaken for substance abuse because the disorders have similar symptoms. This can sometimes make it difficult to diagnose schizophrenia or co-occurring disorders. However, researchers continue to study the disorders independently and concurrently to improve the accuracy of dual diagnosis.

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

Schizophrenia Symptoms and Effects

Schizophrenia is characterized by a broad range of symptoms that make it hard for the affected person to function normally. Symptoms vary and may be cognitive, behavioral or emotional in nature. Common schizophrenia symptoms include:

Delusional thinking

An individual suffering from schizophrenia may have beliefs that are not based in reality. These delusions can be about anything and are usually based on misinterpreted sensory experiences (e.g. seeing a light flicker and thinking it’s a signal of some sort). Delusions may include:

  • Feeling harassed or threatened by someone, real or imaginary
  • Believing one has an incredible fortune or a mystic power
  • Feeling that a disaster is about to happen
  • Thinking they are someone else, like a historical figure or celebrity

It can be very difficult to convince someone with schizophrenia that these delusions are false.


Hallucinations are when an individual hears, sees, smells or feels something that does not exist. Someone suffering from schizophrenia might be immersed in an experience that has no actual basis in reality. Hearing voices is one of the most common hallucinations among those with schizophrenia.

Disorganized speech

Disorganized speech is the result of disorganized thinking. Those with schizophrenia often have difficulty organizing and maintaining their thoughts. This can lead to sudden, mid-sentence changes in topic or saying meaningless words or gibberish that is difficult to understand. The person may also repeat words and phrases, use rhyming words, or make random, illogical statements.

Disorganized motor or catatonic behavior

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia might exhibit disorganized, almost childlike motor behavior. This behavior can include excessive movements, strange postures and a lack of impulse control. The person may also go in and out of a catatonic state, in which they will not speak, move or respond to communication.

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are the absence of normal behaviors or function. These symptoms often present years before a person has their first schizophrenic episode—when psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions, set in. Negative symptoms are often mistaken for other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety disorders. Common negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Lack of interest or motivation
  • Diminished emotional expression
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Becoming socially withdrawn
  • Not caring about their appearance or hygiene
Scroll to Find Your Insurance

Addiction and Schizophrenia Treatment

When treated independently, treatment for schizophrenia and addiction both typically involve a combination of medications, psychotherapy, rehabilitation education and self-help groups.

Dual diagnosis programs work by treating both schizophrenia and drug addiction simultaneously, instead of as two separate conditions.

Generally, detox—the process of removing drugs from the user’s system—is the first step in dual diagnosis treatment. Once the user’s body is free of the substance, a clinical team can better assess the patient’s schizophrenia symptoms and determine the best course of treatment.

Antipsychotic medications are usually prescribed to help alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Sometimes, several drugs may be tested before finding the right medication to treat a patient’s specific chemical imbalance.

While taking medication to manage their symptoms, dual diagnosis patients also attend various therapies to address the underlying causes of their disorders. One of the most common forms of therapy used in dual diagnosis is family therapy. Many individuals suffering from schizophrenia are part of high-stress families. Family therapy can help to reduce the amount and severity of stressors that can act as a trigger for both schizophrenia and substance abuse.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another common type of therapy used to treat co-occurring schizophrenia and addiction. CBT helps the patient identify specific behaviors or ways of thinking that contribute to their addiction, as well as their schizophrenia. It can also help patients learn to manage symptoms of schizophrenia, such as auditory hallucinations, that may persist even when taking antipsychotic medications.

Recovery from schizophrenia and addiction is 100 percent achievable. If you or a loved one is suffering from co-occurring disorders, please contact a treatment provider for help finding a dual diagnosis treatment program.

Treatment professionals are waiting for your call

(855) 826-4464