Heavy Meth Use Linked To Schizophrenia

Researchers at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health believe they have found a possible link between the heavy use of methamphetamines and schizophrenia.

Using hospital records obtained from 1990 through 2000 at a California hospital researchers compared results from drug users to a control group of non-drug users to determine the direct effects meth use has on the mental condition. Researchers studied the records of each patients for up to 10 years from the time of their initial hospital visit.

According to the study’s co-author Russell Callaghan meth users who did not have psychotic symptoms at the start of the study period were 1.5 to 3.0 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia at a later time if meth addiction was discovered.

The study examined 42,412 meth users and was published on Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Stephen Kish, head of CAMH’s Human Brain Laboratory told the CBC:

“We really do not understand how these drugs might increase schizophrenia risk,”

“Perhaps repeated use of methamphetamine and cannabis in some susceptible individuals can trigger latent schizophrenia by sensitizing the brain to dopamine, a brain chemical thought to be associated with psychosis.”

While a link appears to be prevalent researchers conducting the study were quick to point out that more studies are needed.

The study is important because Meth and other amphetamine-type stimulants are thought to be the second most widely used class of illegal drugs in the world.

Given what the drug has been shown to do with human brains I’m not surprised by the findings. Do the new research studies results surprise you?

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