Some people may believe that drug addictions can cause schizophrenia. However, there is no definite proof that it is true. Although the exact cause of schizophrenia remains unknown, it is believed to result from a combination of a person’s genes and various environmental factors. We know that this mental disorder may run in families, and consequently, people with a first or second-degree relative such as a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, or uncle with schizophrenia are at a higher risk of getting this illness. Regardless of this genetic risk, experts believe that genes alone are not sufficient to cause the disorder. It is possible that these genes interact with environmental factors, such as severe exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth or problems during birth, as well as psychosocial factors such as traumatic environmental conditions, that may trigger the condition. This means that if a person who has a possibility and weakness to develop the disorder engages in drug abuse, this behavior may act together with his vulnerability, causing the development of the disorder. Nevertheless there is no way to know for sure.
Moreover, in some cases of drug abuse, a person may produce signs that are similar to schizophrenic symptoms. For instance, overusing cocaine can result in exaggerated expression of bad temper, restlessness, and paranoia. It is not unusual for such binges to cause schizophrenic symptoms, in which a person loses touch with the reality and starts to believe in his imaginations. An individual may start hearing things that are not really there which is considered as an instance of auditory hallucination. These symptoms of acute drug-induced psychosis are similar to the symptoms that a schizophrenic patient experiences.
Like most people, one probably won’t acknowledge the first signs of addiction. The continuous use of drugs and alcohol can contribute to the progression of schizophrenia. It may cause devastating effects wherein a person’s mental and physical condition will get worse. In addition, the illness will be more severe and recovery will take longer.
Even though the relationship between drug abuse and schizophrenia is not that clear, it is necessary to consider other negative consequences of addiction to drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. By definition, when a person becomes addicted to a certain drug, he may develop tolerance, therefore requiring a greater amount to experience the desired level of being high. The heavier use of the drug can have a drastic impact on his overall health condition, including his mental health.
Combining drugs and alcohol with this kind of illness can possibly lead to more serious complications. For example, the heavy use of a substance called marijuana can change a person’s sense of space and time. It has been associated with severe depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. It can also affect the person’s sleep patterns and impair his memory and judgment. In general, drug abuse is associated with absenteeism, poor performance at work or school and family disruption. Therefore, drug abuse does not really cause schizophrenic symptoms. People suffering from this mental disorder, however, may turn to drugs or alcohol to take illegal drugs in attempt to lessen anxiety, depression, or certain mental disorders.
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