Schizophrenia Case Study

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (2014), Schizophrenia is a chronic mental condition that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, and make decisions. The cause of schizophrenia can be attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Psychosis often accompanies schizophrenia and is defined as the loss of contact with reality. Schizophrenia often begins to manifest itself in people during late adolescent and young adulthood. This period of time in human development is a pivotal one with regard to one’s propensity for substance abuse. Smith and Hucker (1994) found that an individual with schizophrenia had a 47% higher chance of having a substance use disorder compared to a population without schizophrenia. In addition to higher proclivity of drug and alcohol abuse, people with schizophrenia are likely to use nicotine at a much greater rate than the general population (Sagud, 2009). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2014), approximately 2.4 million American adults over the age of 18 have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a non-discriminatory disease and affects men and women equally, regardless of socioeconomic status. Currently, the best course of treatment for people affected with schizophrenia is a combination of antipsychotic medications in conjunction with psychotherapy, behavior modification, and social rehabilitation.
Green, Drake, Brunette, and Noordsy, (2007) found that “Patients with dual diagnoses are highly prone to adverse outcomes in several domains: increased symptom severity; increased rates of hospitalization, infectious illnesses, violence, victimization, homelessness, and non adherence to medication. Co-occurring substance use diso...

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...osis patients were abstinent, 68% reported no significant psychiatric symptoms and 29% were employed,” (p.861).
Dual diagnosis treatment is a relatively new innovation that has only become more prominent since the 1990s. The prognosis for treatment of this population that experiences schizophrenia and substance use disorder is improving. Though the evidence shows that there are benefits associated with having some sort of dual diagnosis training, an overwhelming amount of research must still be conducted in order to determine the efficacy of co-morbid treatment for schizophrenic patients. In order to better treat patients afflicted with dual diagnosis, it is important to utilize a cross-disciplinary collaboration between mental health and substance abuse experts in order to create an integrated treatment approach that addresses the needs of this special population.
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