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Schizophrenia. On olanzapine. Self medication- on beer. Thoughts?

Hi! I just read an article on how those with schizophrenia often self-medicate on nicotine or alcohol! I am on 10mgs of olanzapine/day for my schizophrenia (which is in remission), and self-med on a 330ml bottle of beer a day. I recommend the later in moderation for it seems to relax my nerves and enhances feelings well-being. What
are your thoughts on self-medicating behavior? regards: Murray.
Asked On : Sat, 27 Apr 2013
Answers:  6 Views:  264
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Psychiatrist 's  Response
Thanks for writing to Health Care Magic
Schizophrenia patients have severe and distressing symptoms. These symptoms temporarily appear to be releived when one smokes or takes alcohol. But the dangers are more. Alcohol and nicotine in the longer run have a very deliterious impact on the health of the patients. Alcohol for example is directly responsible for 60 illnesses called alcohol use disorders. 200 other illnesses have alcohol as one of the causative factor. Nicotine is even more dangerous with high morbidity and mortality. Hence it is not wise to use these substances for self medication. The symptom relief can be achieved by adjusting the dosage of the medication you are using. Also alcohol and nicotine interfere with the action of the drugs you are using. Hence it is better to avoid these substances.
Thanks and regards
Answered: Tue, 30 Apr 2013
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Psychiatrist Dr. Gourav Monga's  Response
Welcome to health care magic.
I appreciate your effort to seek online support.
Self medication is common in schizophrenia patients with nicotine, alcohol and other substance abuse. However, it is not at all recommended as these can worsen the psychosis and secondly can interfere with the effects of medicine. I advise you to stop these as soon as possible and continue olanzapine. Discuss all this in detail with your treating doctor
Hope it helps
Good luck
Dr. Gourav Monga
Consultant Psychiatrist
Answered: Sat, 27 Apr 2013
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Psychiatrist Dr. Ashish Mittal's  Response
welcome to Healthcare Magic.

Although patient with psychological problems try to self medicate themselves by different substances like:
-anxiety and depression: alcohol and sleeping pills
-schizophrenia: smoking and alcohol

But it does not mean, it is helpful for them. Such self medication have negative impact on physical and mental health. It also lead to new problem of drug addiction, which can cause relapse of psychological problem like schizophrenia in your case.

Wish you all the best.

Dr Ashish Kumar Mittal
Answered: Sat, 27 Apr 2013
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Psychiatrist Dr. Sundar Gnanavel's  Response
Thanks for your query. I understand the distress associated with your schizophrenic symptoms. However, you need to understand that use of nicotine/alcohol results in the following problems:
1. Risk of developing substance addiction
2. Relapse/rebound/long term worsening of psychotic symptoms
Hence, use of substance is not part of cure in your case. I would suggest you discuss this issue with your treating psychiatrist so that you can quit substance use. It would also be possible to increase the dosage of your antipsychotic for better symptom control. Wish you good health.
Dr Sundar
Answered: Tue, 30 Apr 2013
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Psychologist Dr. K. V. Anand's  Response
Dec 2015
Schizophrenia is a psychic condition which requires medical intervention.
But you did not mention whether it was diagnosed.
As you are mentioning about self medication, is it your imagination?
Any way, you should consult a psychiatric / psychologist for further advice and treatment.
Self medication can always be dangerous.
over and above, alcohol and nicotine may provide temporary relief, but in long term, it is certainly dangerous.
Wish you speedy recovery.
Answered: Tue, 7 May 2013
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Cardiologist Dr. Anantharamakrishnan's  Response
Hi friend,
Welcome to Health Care Magic

Self medication is not good - for any may even be dangerous...
Also, there is danger of interaction between them
Alcohol has many physical and psychological bad effects... it is addictive.
You have not stated your age, gender, personal habits, family history or co-morbidities
You should stop beer / discuss with your psychiatrist - the dose may have to be adjusted or the drug changed...

Take care
Wishing speedy recovery
God bless
Good luck
Answered: Thu, 2 May 2013
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