Essential Things You Should Know About Substance Abuse and Delusions
A delusional disorder is the presence of a belief in something which is not real and which persists for at least a month. When you have bizarre delusions, these are beliefs which can be so unbelievable that they do not seem plausible. Non-bizarre delusions are beliefs that seem more realistic and plausible. Non-bizarre delusions are harder to notice and diagnose.
It is important to note that delusional disorders are not the same as schizophrenia, even though it has delusion as a symptom. Delusional disorders will usually not affect your normal social and psychological functions. Clinically, before you are diagnosed with a delusional disorder, you must not have schizophrenia, the delusions must not be a result of drug abuse, and your normal everyday function must not be affected.
Studies have shown that delusional disorders do not show themselves until the middle of adulthood to late adulthood. These delusions can begin with something like suspecting that anyone and everyone who comes your way has some sort of ulterior motive against you, and becoming obsessed with whether your family and friends are still loyal to you.
This can progress to non-bizarre delusions where you suddenly start believing that your partner is cheating on you, or that a friend of yours is working in a secret organisation controlled by the government. These are delusions which can occur in real situations, and this is why non-bizarre delusions are much more difficult to diagnose. Bizarre delusions, however, are easier to diagnose and can be something as implausible as believing that you have an alien living inside you.
While these delusions may have no serious effect on your everyday life without any triggers to stimulate them, you can have mood disturbances when they are stirred up. These mood disturbances can cause anger and violent behaviour. When these episodes start becoming severe, it can cause you to have relationship and work issues, and even lead to a reluctance to accept medical intervention.
Problems Related to Delusions and Substance Abuse
Abused substances can cause delusions, even though the diagnosis of a delusional disorder demands that delusion should not be as a result of drug use.
If you are suffering from a delusional disorder, you might start abusing drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with your condition. This can further worsen your symptoms, as substance abuse can cause delusions on its own. Although substances such as opioids, alcohol, and benzodiazepines might, at first, reduce the symptoms of delusion that you are having, they will eventually worsen, as you grow more tolerant and increase dosages. If you are suffering from a delusional disorder, developing an addiction can worsen your condition, leading to more emotional instability that manifests as increased aggression and even self-harm.
Should You Get Help for Delusions?
Delusional disorders are easy to go unnoticed because sufferers tend to hide and shy away from admitting publicly their condition. This can lead to substance abuse, which will further worsen the situation. It is important to note that substance abuse may occur as a result of an undiagnosed delusional disorder, and it is important to get help when you find yourself turning to these substances as a means of escape.
Denial is a huge problem in delusional disorders and substance abuse, as you might be unwilling to admit that you have a problem. If you are a family member or a friend of someone suffering from both delusional disorders and substance abuse, you have a role to play by being supportive and non-judgemental when talking to your loved one.
You can talk to a professional interventionist who will help you in finding the right way to discuss the problem with your friend, to make them more willing to accept help.
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