Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often express feeling alienated and anxious. These feelings are thought to be one of the main reasons that people turn to substance use. The use of various substances may provide a temporary reprieve from uncomfortable feelings.

Drug Abuse as a Hinderance to Schizotypal Personality Disorder Treatment

Drug use is likely to hinder the treatment of schizotypal personality disorder. A common characteristic of substance abuse is the failure to meet expectations and maintain responsibilities. This often takes the form of neglecting one’s health. For a person with schizotypal personality disorder, abusing substances may compromise their treatment as the patient begins failing to maintain therapy appointments, missing doses of medications or stopping treatment altogether.

Effects of Substance Abuse on Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Substance abuse is very likely to exacerbate the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder. Odd behaviors, including unusual mannerisms and mood noncongruent facial expressions, may become more dramatic and strange thought patterns may increase. While social anxiety may be temporarily lowered by substance use, dealing with the repercussions of actions that took place while intoxicated may increase feelings of discomfort in public.

Statistics on Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Drug Abuse

In general, those with personality disorders are significantly more likely to engage in drug abuse. As with other personality disorders — including antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and others — people with schizotypal personality disorder have a disproportionately high rate of addiction versus the general population. In addition to a higher prevalence of substance use disorders, people with this diagnosis may have greater difficulty stopping their use and maintaining long-term abstinence. While the specific reason for this is unknown, it has been hypothesized that the negative feelings commonly experienced by these patients are unlikely to be resolved through typical therapeutic approaches. These patients struggle to find relief from the symptoms that made substance use attractive in the first place, which may make relapse more likely.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Alcohol

Individuals with personality disorders are more likely to engage in excessive drinking and have greater difficulty stopping drinking. Alcohol may be consumed to alleviate social anxieties but alcohol can increase odd behaviors and further alienate the patient.  Alcohol consumption may lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations. Experiencing these hallucinations can cause psychosis to become more prominent for those with schizotypal personality disorder.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Marijuana

People with personality disorders are more likely than those without personality disorders to abuse marijuana. Even though using marijuana use may increase paranoia and anxiety for some people diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder there are reports of people experiencing relief from anxiety associated with this disorder after using the cannabis.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Stimulants

Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder are more likely to have mood swings and exhibit explosive anger and violence when using stimulants. Psychosis associated with stimulant use may trigger the conversion from schizotypal personality disorder to schizophrenia. Some of these commonly used stimulants include:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Crack Cocaine

Treatment for Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders

Treatment for schizotypal personality disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder should address both concerns. Common treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy, supportive therapy and family therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is typically used with the individual to combat negative thinking styles and reduce depression and anxiety. Supportive therapy and family therapy both are aimed to decrease chaos in the patient’s relationships and increase the supportiveness of interpersonal relationships.

The Recovery Village can help people who struggle with a personality disorder when paired with substance use issues. With rehab centers in each region of the country, The Recovery Village can assess whether someone has co-occurring mental health disorders and should address that in addition to their substance use disorder.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse
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