Therapist4Chnge

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There is some really interesting research being conducted by Dr. Earleywine out of SUNY-Albany that looks at the link between substance use (particularly marijuana use) and the development of schizophrenia and/or Cluster A "eccentric" personality disorders (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal). He tends to focus more on substance abuse, but I know that this is a major component of his lab. Def check it out if you are interested, I've heard AMAZING things about him as a mentor/advisor.
Is he arguing their is a pre-existing condition that would lead to SCZ/related and the people are using/abusing as a coping skill, or that the substance use can some how impact the development of SCZ/related? SCZ isn't my area, but I believe there is some good support for substance use/abuse with people who have SCZ, as for many it is the best way they have learned to cope, though I haven't read anything on substance abuse impacting SCZ. There have been a few studies that looked at LSD, MDMA, and cocaine use as possibly factors in experiencing a psychotic-like episode, though I don't believe there was anything definative.

(I can split this out if people want to talk about this in more depth)
 

psychanxiety

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Is he arguing their is a pre-existing condition that would lead to SCZ/related and the people are using/abusing as a coping skill, or that the substance use can some how impact the development of SCZ/related? SCZ isn't my area, but I believe there is some good support for substance use/abuse with people who have SCZ, as for many it is the best way they have learned to cope, though I haven't read anything on substance abuse impacting SCZ. There have been a few studies that looked at LSD, MDMA, and cocaine use as possibly factors in experiencing a psychotic-like episode, though I don't believe there was anything definative.

(I can split this out if people want to talk about this in more depth)
There's been some research on the possibility of early and frequent cannabis use causing schizophrenia, but the field isn't conclusive yet. Here's a review:

Cannabis Use, First-Episode Psychosis, and Schizotypy: A Summary and
Synthesis of Recent Literature
Michael T. Compton, Sandra M. Goulding and Elaine F. Walker

Abstract: Schizophrenia currently is conceptualized as a neurodevelopmental disorder, the expression of which is affected
by both genetic and environmental factors. Schizotypy is a dimensional personality construct that is the substrate of
schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), and its positive, negative, and cognitive features are subclinical manifestations
that mirror the symptoms of schizophrenia. Research indicates that both schizophrenia and schizotypy are linked with
cannabis use. In this overview, recent literature on the following topics is summarized: (1) cannabis use as a potential risk
factor, or component cause, of schizophrenia, (2) prevalence and clinical correlates of cannabis use among individuals in
the early course of schizophrenia, (3) clinical and psychosocial outcomes of schizophrenia that are influenced by cannabis
use, and (4) associations between cannabis use and schizotypy. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Growing evidence points to the complex and informative interconnections between cannabis use, schizotypy, and firstepisode
psychosis.
 
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That's pretty interesting work.. I know that when I worked at one of the city psychiatric hospitals in NYC I found there to be a huge correlation between many of my psychotic clients and marijuana use...Before there first episode and after. It seemed as though substance use was a big factor in medicating prodromal facets of the psychosis, which, unfortunately, can have negative effects on prognosis. Very interesting area of study- thanks for sharing!
 

loveoforganic

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What the previous two posters mentioned is what I got as the gist as well. Have there been analyses on other hallucinogens with different modes of action and schizophrenia onset? The similar symptoms as a trigger hypothesis is definitely reasonable, but it's possible there's something more biological at play too.
 

AcronymAllergy

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We also need to keep in mind that many individuals who eventually develop schizophrenia begin experiencing and displaying various schizotypy traits well before any clinical attention is sought or given. In fact, from a recent talk I attended, current estimates of schizotypy in the general population are right at 10%, while only a fraction of these schizoptypal individuals actually go on to develop schizophrenia (the remainder either develop a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, such as schizoid or schizotypal PD, or remain subclinical for the entirety of their lives).

From my understanding, many of the studies evaluating the possible causative factors of drug use on schizophrenia development do not greatly explore this concept of schizoptypy. Thus, while it may appear that some results point to drug use "causing" schizophrenia, the individuals in question may have been schizotypes already on the path to developing schizophrenia with or without the substance use. I'm not saying this is definitively the case, just that it's one possible alternative.
 
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Not sure if it's the same study that's cited, but I went to a grand rounds talk by a psychologist in schizophrenia research, and he cited some studies on how marijuana use in some individuals with a specific genetic markup increases their risk of developing schizophrenia by 300%. So yes, some of the developmental studies have a biological/genetic focus.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Not sure if it's the same study that's cited, but I went to a grand rounds talk by a psychologist in schizophrenia research, and he cited some studies on how marijuana use in some individuals with a specific genetic markup increases their risk of developing schizophrenia by 300%. So yes, some of the developmental studies have a biological/genetic focus.
Oh, I definitely know much of the developmental research looks at biological/genetic factors to an extent; I'd be surprised if they didn't, especially in this particular area. However, to my knowledge, not very many control for schizotypy traits in their samples. Thus, it could be hard to tell if the substance-using individuals who go on to develop schizophrenia were in fact schizotypes, and thus more likely to develop schizophrenia to begin with (and who also may have begun using substances because of these schizotypy traits, rather than the substances causing the onset of schizophrenia symptoms).