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Learn to control your addiction

bildMany individuals with psychoses suffer from addictions as well as from their psychoses. This is the case for about 50-70% of the juveniles and young adults affected with psychoses. Chiefly, this deals with an abuse and/or a dependence involving cannabis. Not rare, is also an additional abuse involving alcohol, amphetamine or cocaine. As a consequence, persons who have fallen ill with psychoses, in comparison with the general population, have a two to five-fold increased risk of developing a drug disorder.

What are the causes for the use of addictive drugs?

The exact cause for a high consumption of drugs and/or illegal drugs by persons with psychoses has not been clarified sufficiently. Nevertheless, some facts exist which describe such a relationship:

  • Most individuals who are afflicted with psychoses are addicted to alcohol or drugs prior to the first outbreak of a psychosis, frequently as a reaction to the first indication of the psychosis (e.g. depressive moods, fear or social isolation).
  • The beginning of cannabis consumption before the age of 15-years-old is associated with a more than 4-fold increase in the risk for developing a psychosis.
  • Continued alcohol and/or drug consumption after the outbreak of a psychosis leads to the person affected with hardly having a chance to achieve a lasting cure and/or recovery, meaning that hallucinations or delusions continue to persist or develop again after short episodes of improvement. This decreases the chances of improving their quality of life and/or of being able to control the illness.
  • If the persons affected are able to control their addiction and to live abstinently, they have exactly the same chances to cure their affliction as those individuals who have never suffered from any additional problem involving addiction!

If an additional problem involving addiction has been diagnosed for you, you must solve this problem as rapidly as possible. This necessity extends from the observation that your psychosis will not be able to improve and/or to stabilize either short or long-term without you abstaining from alcohol and/or drugs.

On the way to controlling your life without addictive drugs, there are nevertheless two essential obstacles

  1. Many persons with psychoses initially have no motivation to live without drugs and/or alcohol.
  2. Additionally, many persons who are affected assume that they themselves will be able to control their problem with addiction without any further help

Here, a few tips on how you can nevertheless deal with it

  • Accept help. Assume that you will have a better chance of abstaining from your addiction the more you accept help.
  • Inquire concerning therapeutic possibilities associated with addiction and begin with an addiction therapy. Ask about special addiction therapies for persons with psychoses and addictions. Generally, they deal with a behaviour therapy performed in either a single or a group form.
  • Try to find reasons for your special vulnerability to drugs and/or alcohol with the therapist. Understanding these relationships will help you to live abstinently.
  • Assuming that you will require assistance long-term, try to avoid relapses and don't let yourself get down. If you work on the problem, you will clearly be able to manage getting along without addiction.
  • Write down the advantages and disadvantages to drug consumption and/or those for and against abstinence, and search for a therapist yourself, with whom you can discuss your arguments.
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