Psychotic Disorders and Addiction Treatment

While a lot of attention is given to substance abuse and drug and alcohol addiction, not as much time and energy are being spent talking about the things that many times lead to the development of these substance disorders. Mental illnesses and psychotic disorders are two of the leading causes of the development of drug and alcohol addictions. Thinking disorders also feature many symptoms of psychosis.

For many people, the issues that come along with these illnesses and disorders lead to self-medicating by often abusing drugs and alcohol. They might be afraid or embarrassed to talk to someone or ask for help. Unfortunately, this can lead many people spiraling to a dark place where their lives have now not only been overtaken by their mental state but also by the drugs and/or alcohol they also find themselves addicted to. 

On this page, we are going to focus on psychotic disorders including the different kinds as well as how they can be treated and their association with addiction. 

What Is A Psychotic Disorder?

A psychotic disorder is a serious illness that affects the mind and the overall human psyche. A psychotic disorder makes what is often perceived as a simple task a difficult one. This can include thinking clearly, making good judgments, effectively communicating, the ability to understand reality, behaving appropriately, and even the ability to emotionally respond to certain situations. 

For someone who is suffering from a severe psychotic disorder, the ability to do something as simple as keeping in touch with reality and handling their day-to-day lives can be a significant challenge. People who suffer from severe psychotic disorders might appear to be delusional or constantly suffer from hallucinations that they think are real. 

thinking disorders

What Are the Different Kinds of Psychotic Disorders?

As you can tell by the definition above, many different conditions can be characterized as psychotic disorders. Below are some of the more commonly diagnosed and treated psychotic disorders:


Schizophrenia is by far the most common of all the different types of psychotic disorders. People who suffer from schizophrenia will often experience significant changes in behavior such as delusions and hallucinations. These changes can last at least six months or longer. Those suffering from schizophrenia will oftentimes struggle in regular, everyday settings such as school or work. They may also notice a decline when it comes to being able to function in social environments or with relationships. 

Schizophrenia is also part of a group of conditions called thinking disorders. 

Schizoaffective Disorder

People suffering from this kind of disorder often show symptoms of both schizophrenia as well as a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder. 

Schizophreniform Disorder

Those suffering from schizophreniform disorder oftentimes find themselves suffering from symptoms that are similar to that of schizophrenia. Unlike schizophrenia though, the symptoms tend to last a shorter amount of time, typically anywhere from one to six months. 

Brief Psychotic Disorder

People who have brief psychotic disorder will often find themselves having sudden, short periods of psychotic behavior. This will often happen as a result of a highly stressful event, such as the loss of a job or even a death in the family. Typically, those suffering from this disorder will find that their symptoms dissipate in a month or less.

Delusional Disorder

Someone suffering from delusional disorder will oftentimes act in a delusional way. They will have a false, fixed belief involving a real-life situation. While it’s possible for this situation that they think is true to be true, in reality, it’s not. Examples include:

Typically, these delusional thoughts or actions will last up to a month.

Are There Signs or Symptoms That Could Point to Having a Psychotic Disorder?

The short answer to this is yes. If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from a psychotic disorder or thinking disorders, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

How Common Are Psychotic Disorders?

Roughly 3 million people suffer from some sort of psychotic disorder. Typically, those who suffer from a psychotic disorder will begin experiencing symptoms anywhere between 18 and 24 years old. This, of course, excludes those who develop a psychotic disorder as a result of old age, like dementia or delusional disorder. 

While it is highly uncommon, there have been situations where a baby is born with a psychotic disorder. This only happens in one or two births out of 1,000. While both men and women can develop a psychotic disorder, men tend to develop these disorders at a greater rate and with symptoms beginning to show at a younger age. 

What is the Connection Between Psychotic Disorders and Addiction?

The connection between psychotic disorders and addiction runs deep. For many people, the burden of dealing with a psychotic disorder can just be too much for them to handle. Those same people might be too embarrassed or afraid to talk to someone about it or ask for help. Unfortunately, many of those people turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and numb the proverbial pain. In many cases, this can lead to the development of a drug or alcohol addiction on top of their psychotic disorder.

There are also certain scenarios where a drug addiction or substance abuse problem can lead to the development of a psychotic disorder. This is called a substance-induced psychotic disorder. This type of disorder is exactly what it sounds like. It is caused by the continued use of certain drugs such as hallucinogens or crack cocaine that cause hallucinations, delusions, or confused speech. This type of disorder can also be developed as a result of extreme withdrawal symptoms that are associated with these drugs.

Are Psychotic Disorders Treatable?

Whether you suffer from both an addiction and a psychotic disorder, also known as a co-occurring disorder, or just a psychotic disorder, the good news is that it is treatable. 

If you are someone who is suffering from a co-occurring disorder, the first step before treatment can begin is to undergo detox in order to rid your body of all the harmful substances that you have been taking. Due to the nature of detoxing and what it can do to your body, it is important to undergo detox treatment under the constant care and supervision of a medical professional. This can be done at either a medical facility, a dedicated detox facility, or a treatment center that also offers detox services such as CNV Detox. 

thinking disorders

Once detox is completed, treatment can begin. While there are some treatment options for psychotic disorders that involve medications, for those who either suffer from an addiction or are looking to avoid taking medications, there are many therapeutic options out there that can be completed during inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the more effective ways of treating psychotic disorders. People who suffer from psychotic disorders or thinking disorders tend to have disorganized or irrational thoughts and CBT specifically targets these symptoms. 

CBT also helps people with these conditions make rational connections and recognize when psychotic symptoms are arising. It also helps strengthen reality testing skills when a person’s illness makes it harder for them to discern internal from external events.

Family and Group Therapy

Family and group therapy promote both learning and peer support. 

During family therapy, the family of the person suffering from psychotic disorders or thinking disorders can learn how to change the communication patterns or behavior that increase stress and worsen outcomes. During family therapy, family members can learn how to better support their loved one while they recover as well as learn helpful things that they can do in the future.

Group therapy is a great way to build a support system of people outside of the family. They can learn how to adapt and overcome their issues by talking to other people that are going through the same or similar situations as they are. They can connect in ways that reduce shame and feelings of isolation, as well as learn effective ways to cope and manage symptoms.

Do You Suffer From A Psychotic Disorder?

If you suffer from a psychotic disorder or thinking disorders, it’s important to get the help you need before it gets worse and possibly even results in the development of an addiction. It’s important to remember that there is no need to be embarrassed about your condition and that there are people out there that can help you. 

At CNV Detox, we know that it can be scary to suffer from co-occurring disorders. That’s why we offer many treatment options when it comes to the treatment of a variety of different conditions, including psychotic disorders. For more information about our treatment options, contact us today.