Delusional Disorder and Drug Addiction

Delusional disorder doesn’t always appear disruptive on the surface, but it causes stress, anxiety, and other disturbances that can make a person vulnerable to chemical dependency. Individuals suffering from co-occurring delusional disorder and addiction can restore their health and autonomy.

Delusional disorder is not always a disabling condition. However, those who suffer from chronic delusions often experience high levels of stress. They frequently have trouble maintaining relationships, holding down a job, and managing their emotions in general.

Unfortunately, these challenging circumstances lead many men and women with delusional disorder to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Mind-altering substances offer the possibility of escape from distressing thoughts and emotions, which are common with delusional disorder. But delusional disorder is persistent if left untreated, and those who self-medicate with intoxicants can quickly succumb to addiction.

Co-Occurring Delusional Disorder and Substance Abuse

People who develop delusional disorder have increasing difficulty distinguishing between fact and fantasy. Their behavior may seem normal for the most part, and they may function successfully in most situations. But they have certain beliefs that are false and often quite disturbing, leaving them struggling to cope with difficult and confusing emotions.

There are several different types of delusional disorder. They include:

  • Somatic. A person imagines they suffer from a physical illness, deformity, or other problem related to their bodily health.
  • Erotomanic. This describes a person’s false belief that someone else is in love with them, a conviction that continues often in spite of frequent rejection.
  • Jealous. Someone with a jealous delusion believes their spouse or partner has been unfaithful, and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.
  • Grandiose. People with delusions of grandeur believe they are better or more important than other people, although they have no actual accomplishments to back up this perception.
  • Persecutory. These types of delusions make a person feel paranoid and suspicious, based on their conviction that others are out to get them or are somehow causing damage to their lives.
  • Mixed. Some people with delusional disorder will suffer from more than one type of delusion, and the number of delusions they experience may increase over time.

In some instances, these delusions may involve fairly plausible scenarios. In other cases they are totally bizarre or illogical. But all are believed with equal firmness, regardless of their disconnection from observable reality.

Such thoughts and feelings can make functioning difficult and cause immense emotional strain. Persistent delusions of this nature can easily disrupt or even destroy relationships, lead to the loss of employment, or create embarrassing situations that damage a person’s self-esteem.

Men and women who try to cope with the negative impact of delusions through substance use are playing with fire. The delusions won’t be tamed by this activity, and over time addiction is the likely result if drug and alcohol consumption continues unabated.

Delusional Disorder and Alcohol Addiction

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can make you relax and take the edge off of unsettling thoughts and emotions. If you’ve been experiencing delusions, alcohol could offer some temporary relief from the stress caused by your obsessive concerns.

But the delusions are more powerful and enduring than the mind-altering effects of alcohol. The latter will subside in a few hours at most, while the delusions remain. Without treatment the strength of your delusions won’t wane, but as your brain and body adjust to the presence of the alcohol you’ll need to drink even more to experience relief. At this point, you’ll be on the road to alcohol addiction, which can ruin your life in any situation but do so even more rapidly if you have delusional disorder.

Alcohol dependency and delusional disorder will both respond to treatment, if it is comprehensive, evidence-based, and as intensive as needed based on the nature and depth of your struggles. Desperation can drive someone with delusional disorder to self-medicate with alcohol, and a private alcohol rehab can help make sure all the mental and behavioral health symptoms you experience are treated with focus and fervency.

Delusional Disorder and Drug Addiction

People with delusional disorder are often plagued by runaway thoughts and feelings they find difficult to control. To relax or improve their mood, some will turn to illicit substances that can either produce feelings of energy and euphoria (stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine) or suppress disturbing feelings and replace them with more pleasant emotions (misappropriated prescription opioids or benzodiazepines can do this).

These effects are real but only temporary. Drug abuse leads to addiction, and the descent into dependency can happen in a matter of days or weeks. With continued consumption, drugs will produce dramatic changes in brain activity, leading to unpleasant and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms that will accompany any attempt to stop using them.

When drug abuse is chosen as a strategy for coping with the effects of delusional disorder, the outcome is likely to be disastrous. This is true if nothing is done to stop the addiction or treat the delusions that underlie it.

If you’ve been abusing drugs in a desperate attempt to control your delusions, in the long run this behavior will only make things worse. Dual diagnosis treatment plans for co-occurring delusional disorder and drug addiction at a leading drug addiction treatment center can help you turn your life around, with an approach that teaches you to acknowledge the full consequences of your behavior and to take responsibility for changing it.

Delusional Disorder and Cannabis Addiction

When people with delusional disorder experiment with drugs and alcohol, their consumption is often compulsive, creating a dynamic that can result in cannabis dependency if this is the drug they’ve chosen to misuse.

Cannabis is often used as a stress-reducer. Its mild euphoric effects may seem desirable, because they can improve mood without inhibiting normal functioning (in most instances). Despite its relatively mild reputation, however, cannabis can be psychologically addictive if it is consumed daily, or chronically as a remedy for stress and trauma.

For people with delusional disorder, any type of drug or alcohol use is inherently risky. Drug dependence is a legitimate threat when cannabis is used recklessly to self-medicate for delusions, which require real marijuana addiction treatment if they are to be successfully managed.

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Delusional Disorder and Substance Abuse Prognosis

Delusional disorder and substance abuse are a potent and incapacitating combination. But they don’t have to rule your life forever. With the able assistance of the highly skilled and experienced treatment professionals at the best drug rehab center, a healthier way of living is possible.

After you’ve been admitted for treatment, you will likely begin in medical detox. In a fully-staffed detox facility, your newfound commitment to sobriety will be fully supported, with comprehensive medical services offered to help you avoid serious withdrawal symptoms or other health complications. Supervision and care will be available around the clock, and medical professionals will take any steps necessary to make sure your mental and physical health are protected.

After your detox ends, you’ll transition into formal treatment. Recovery services for co-occurring delusional disorder and substance abuse will include a generous mixture of individual, group, and family therapy, with your private, one-on-one therapy sessions forming the backbone of your healing regimen.

Your counseling sessions will focus on the nature and source of your delusions, plus the reasons for your substance use and the factors that may have made you vulnerable to addiction (which will likely include more than just your delusions). Group and family therapy will provide important practical and emotional support and reinforcement, as you continue working to change your perspective, control your self-sabotaging thoughts, and overcome your substance dependence.

In addition to therapy, you may be given medication to help you control your delusions, addictive behavior, or both. Medication use might continue beyond your time in treatment, although your consumption will be carefully monitored at all times.

As a complement to therapy and medication, you’ll also be offered the opportunity to add holistic healing practices to your recovery regimen. Such practices may include meditation, yoga, music and art therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and other evidence-based methods that can facilitate mind-body healing. Life skills, coping skills, and relapse prevention classes may also be provided, to help you deal with temptations or stressful situations that might put your long-term recovery at risk.

Healing from co-occurring delusional disorder and addiction is a long-term process, but if your determination to embrace wellness is sincere your chances of maintaining your sobriety and overcoming your delusions will be excellent.