Substance Abuse Increases the Risk of Schizophrenia

The debate on whether substance abuse raises the risk of schizophrenia has finally been put to rest and the verdict is that it does. Researchers at the Copenhagen University Hospital, Mental Health Center in Denmark conducted an extensive study that covered aspects of substance abuse that previous studies did not. For example, this study factored the effects of co-abuse. This recent study clears many doubts and explains contradictions that earlier studies were beset with.

Study Results

The results of the study were published in the annual meeting of International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA), which was held this year in Italy. The team of researchers used details from more than 3,000,000 individuals. The data yielded information on more than 200,000 cases of substance abuse and more than a tenth of this number had a history of schizophrenia. Statistical analysis of the data, after taking into account variables such as gender, location, other mental health issues, duration of residence in Denmark, and economic condition. The study discovered that the risk of schizophrenia was highest for those that abused cannabis, followed by alcohol, hallucinogenic drugs, sedatives, and amphetamines.

The authors of the research concluded that there is a relationship between almost any kind of substance abuse and schizophrenia. However, further research is needed to establish the causative effects of drugs on the brain. As of now, there isn’t enough clarity on whether drugs lead to schizophrenia or this mental state leads to drug abuse. There is a very real chance that a person who shows symptoms of schizophrenia is likelier to succumb to drug abuse.

Family History

The study also explored for answers to the questions around parental drug abuse and schizophrenia. Such drug abuse, diagnosed before or after the birth of a child, led to schizophrenia in the offspring. Cannabis abuse by both mother and father increased the chances of schizophrenia in children. The risk was higher with maternal cannabis abuse. With alcohol, the risk of this mental condition in children was 5.6 times higher if would-be mothers were diagnosed as abusers before the birth of the baby. Post-birth diagnosis led to a drop in the risk by 50%. It would appear that the longer the parents abused a drug, the greater were the chances of the children developing symptoms of schizophrenia.

Secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke is regarded as the reason for the increased risk with weed. With liquor, the risk is relatively lower because there isn’t any secondhand exposure to speak of.

As research throws more light on the subject of schizophrenia and its association with drug abuse, therapists will be able to plan for interventions and treatment earlier than what is possible now. It will also lead to more successful treatment.

Schizophrenia is just one of the fallouts of drug abuse. At Hired Power, we have the wherewithal to help our clients deal with issues that normally arise during the recovery process. We provide a number of services to augment the treatment offered at rehabilitation centers. Call us to learn more. 800-910-9299