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Substance abuse ups risk for schizophrenia later, says study

02-28 | By CSAA Team

Substance abuse ups risk for schizophrenia later, says study

The physiological and psychological effects of illicit substances are known by all but more research is being conducted in this direction as an increasing number of Americans continue to abuse certain substances known for their psychedelic impact or addictive properties.

Previous studies have stressed upon how illicit drugs can increase the risk for schizophrenia. But the complex nature of relationship between drug use and risk for mental health problems is an important topic of research to understand better the cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

A recent study, presented at the International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA) meeting in Milan, Italy, in October 2016, suggested that the use of illicit drugs could increase the probability of being afflicted with schizophrenia in the later part of life.

The researchers examined Danish registers on a nationwide basis to collect and collate details of 3,133,968 people. Among them, 204,505 people were identified with substance abuse, while 21,305 were detected with schizophrenia.

The details were assessed by taking into consideration various factors like gender, urbanicity, co-abuse, other emotional disorders, history of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, parents’ immigration status to Denmark and socio-economic status of parents.

It was observed that detection of any kind of substance abuse aggravated the potential of developing schizophrenia by six times. A detailed analysis revealed that the increased risk for cannabis was 5.2 times, alcohol was 3.4 times, hallucinogens was 1.9 times, sedatives was 1.7 times, amphetamines was 1.24 times and other substances was 2.8 times. Stressing on the findings, the authors of the study said, “The increased risk was found to be significant even 10 to 15 years after a diagnosis of substance abuse. Our results illustrate robust associations between almost any type of substance abuse and an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.”

Parents’ substance abuse can increase schizophrenia risk in offspring

In the second study, the researchers observed the possible role of substance abuse in parents in the development of schizophrenia. The presence of abuse was divided into two categories, depending on whether it was first detected before or after the childbirth.

The results obtained showed that the cannabis use by mothers increase the risk by six times for schizophrenia in the child, if diagnosed prior to the birth of the child. A similar increase in risk was observed if the diagnosis was conducted after the childbirth. For those with marijuana use by fathers, the risk for schizophrenia in the child went up by 5.5 times, irrespective of detection prior to or after birth of the child.

The diagnosis of alcohol abuse in mothers before the childbirth was linked to 5.6 times increased risk for schizophrenia in the child. But the risk was only doubled if detection was made after the childbirth. The same risk went up 4.4 times in a pre-birth diagnosis in case of parental alcohol abuse compared to 1.8 times if the diagnosis was done after the birth. Emphasizing on the results, the authors inferred, “Second-hand exposure to cannabis is apparently linked to schizophrenia. While it is easy to be exposed to second hand smoke, with other substances, such as alcohol, there is no second hand exposure, which could explain the much lower associations observed after birth for these substances.”

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder. And approximately 2.4 million American adults suffer from schizophrenia in a given year.

Scope of recovery

The fact that substance abuse is a major cause of concern among health care providers and those at the federal levels reaffirms the necessity to implement measures to curb the scourge of abuse and addiction.

Addiction to any form of substance can be best treated at facilities specializing in handling substance abuse. The Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors can assist you in finding the best substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado. For more information, call at our 24/7 substance abuse helpline number 866-300-5857 or chat online with our treatment advisors to learn about the most advanced substance abuse treatment programs in Colorado.

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