a mental health problem, and not a criminal justice issue.

Substance abuse also makes treatment for schizophrenia less effective. Using marijuana, cocaine and other drugs may see symptoms worsen or intensify. Despite the fact that schizophrenia is primarily known as a genetic disease, scientists emphasize that an individual’s environment plays a key role in the development of symptoms.

A broken home, unstable emotional environments, childhood trauma, and other mental disorders like depression are all associated with the advancement of drug abuse and schizophrenia respectively.

Whether it’s the chicken or the egg that came first, both disorders need to be treated in order for the individual to have any chance at living a functional, productive life. Similarities between addiction and schizophrenia include both causes and effects, which begs the question: could a person with a drug addiction just as easily develop schizophrenia instead? Unfortunately, the data is inconclusive.

Both mental illnesses have complex relationships with genetics. No single gene is the direct cause of either substance abuse or schizophrenia. Instead, the combination of genetic makeup and environment is what results in schizophrenia as well as a predisposition for drug addiction and alcoholism. With such analogous details, research is finally revealing what many addiction specialists already knew, that drug addiction and alcoholism can lead to the increased risks of cognitive diseases, but their relationship is yet to be fully explored.

Whether it’s schizophrenia, clinical depression, or chronic anxiety, those with coexisting substance abuse and psychological disorders can benefit from dual diagnosis mental health treatment. During the regimen, therapists and the individual work through the client’s past in order to whittle down to the root cause of dependence.