This is a follow up post to my previous article: Alcohol and Schizoaffective disorder. In this post I’ll be talking about the impact of different drugs on those suffering from schizoaffective disorder, as well as my experience with different drugs and how they have affected my mental health. It is important to take into consideration that I turned to drugs to self-medicate over 18 months after I had begun suffering from this illness, not before. Drugs can induce psychosis in a person, however this will almost always cease after the person stops consuming drugs, unless there was already an underlying psychiatric illness.
Similarly to alcohol, many sufferers of mental illness use a vast range of drugs to self-medicate, both legal and illegal. This can include ‘every day’ drugs, such as caffeine and nicotine; as well as illegal drugs such as marijuana, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines. Drugs such as marijuana, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines, can trigger the symptoms of schizophrenia in those who are predisposed to the illness, or trigger a relapse in those who are already suffering from the disorder. However, they can also cause drug induced psychosis, which is not permanent and will typically cease when the consumption of the drugs is stopped. This can make it difficult in differentiating between schizophrenia and drug induced psychosis.
Both legal and illegal drugs can trigger manic, depressive, and mixed episodes in people suffering from a mood disorder such as bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. During episodes, people may use multiple drugs to self-medicate; this is seen particularly during manic episodes, as many people do become reckless and act on impulse, making illegal drugs far more appealing. However, typically depressive substances such as marijuana and alcohol may make the symptoms subside for a short while, but lead to ill effects later on. Other drugs, typically cocaine and amphetamines, can exaggerate the symptoms of the disorder.
Therefore it is recommended that those suffering from schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar refrain from drug use; including legal drugs.
Over the years I have consumed many different drugs, both legal and illegal. However, I can say that legal drugs have had more of a negative impact on myself rather than the illegal drugs. Although I do not recommend using illegal drugs, for obvious reasons. The worst experience I’ve had with any drug has to be Prozac. It almost immediately sent me into a manic episode and resulted in me losing a lot of weight, money, and time doing reckless things. It lead to severe agitation.
As much as I would like to discuss my personal experiences with illegal drugs, I will also refrain from that for once again, obvious reasons.