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Information about psychoses

How can I end my consumption of addictive drugs?

Many persons with psychosis suffer from an additional addictive disorder besides the psychosis. This concerns around 50% to 70% of youngsters and young adults with psychosis. Mostly, this concerns an abuse of or rather addiction to cannabis. Quite often, there is an additional alcohol, amphetamine or cocaine consumption. Persons with psychosis thus have a two-to-five times higher risk of falling ill with an addictive disorder compared with the general public.

What are the causes of the use of addictive drugs?

The precise causes of this high consumption of drugs and / or illegal drugs in persons with psychosis have not been clarified sufficiently. However, some facts exist which describe a connection:

  • Most persons afflicted start with alcohol or drug consumption before the first onset of the psychosis, frequently as a reaction to the first signs of the psychosis (e.g. feelings of depression, anxiety or social isolation).
  • The start of a cannabis consumption before the 15th year of life is accompanied by a more than fourfold increased risk of the development of a psychosis.
  • Continued alcohol and / or drug consumption after the onset or the psychosis leads to the person afflicted hardly having a chance of a permanent cure or recovery, i.e. hallucination or delusion continue to exists or return after brief episodes of improvement. This decreases the chances of improving quality of life and accordingly coming to terms with the disorder.
  • If persons afflicted manage to control their addiction and live abstinently they have exactly the same chances of a cure as the individuals affected by the psychosis who never had an additional problem with addiction!

How do I manage to cope without addictive drugs?

If an additional addictive disorder was diagnosed in your case, it is advisable that you attend to this problem as soon as possible! The necessity results from the observation that your psychosis will neither improve nor stabilize in the short or long-term without alcohol and / or drug abstinence.

On the way to an addictive drugs-free life however there are two significant obstacles:

  1. Many persons with psychosis have in the first instance no motivation at all to live without drugs or alcohol.
  2. Many persons afflicted additionally assume that they can come to terms with their addiction problem by themselves whenever they want.

Here a few tips on how you can cope despite everything:

  • Accept help. Assume that you have a greater chance of abstinence from addictive drugs with help than without.
  • Find out about the possibilities of addictive therapy and start an addiction therapy. Ask about special addiction therapies for persons with psychosis and addiction problems. Mostly, this concerns a behaviour therapy for individuals or in groups.
  • Try to work out the reasons for your special sensitivity to drugs and / or alcohol with the therapist. Understanding these connections makes it easier for you to live abstinently.
  • Assume that you will require long-term help. Do not be discouraged by relapses even if these are very difficult. If you work on the problem you will in any case some day manage to live without addictive drugs.
  • Write down arguments for and against the drug consumption and look for a therapist with whom you can discuss your arguments.
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