Schizophrenia, Substance Abuse and Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders
Once a thorough medical evaluation has been completed and a dual diagnosis for schizophrenia and chemical dependency has been made, an interdisciplinary team of intervention specialists will develop and institute a comprehensive, integrated treatment regimen.
Each condition will be treated simultaneously and in a coordinated fashion, preferably in a residential setting, by a group of professionals that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction counselors, nurses and physicians, depending on the patient’s current state and life history.
If necessary detox services for addiction will be offered before actual treatment begins, and shortly thereafter anti-psychotic drugs with a history of success in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia will likely be administered. These drugs often take several weeks to take full effect, but patients often show some improvement within the first few days of taking medication.
During formal treatment, those with a dual diagnosis of schizophrenia and a substance abuse disorder will be exposed to a steady diet of individual, family and group therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to counteract the symptoms of both addiction and schizophrenia, although it may be necessary to wait for the medication to take effect before those suffering from schizophrenia are prepared to handle this type of intervention.
In addition to therapy and medication, patients will likely participate in peer group meetings, mindfulness training, classes that teach life and coping skills and personalized activities designed to help each man or woman move beyond the artificial limits placed on them by their twin illnesses.