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Risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder higher in people with substance-induced psychosis, says study

Risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder higher in people with substance-induced psychosis, says study

Many people commonly abuse drugs – some for relief from pain and some to get a high, both often leading to dependence and addiction. However, there could be even more severe consequences due to drug abuse, such as substance-induced psychosis. Also known as toxic psychosis, it is a form of substance use disorder (SUD) that leads to the development of psychosis in an individual.

While many studies have substantiated the fact that individuals addicted to any substance are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues, a recent research has further supported the fact. The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, states that approximately one-third of individuals diagnosed with substance-induced psychosis were also diagnosed with bipolar or schizophrenia-spectrum disorders later in life.

Study findings

The study aimed to evaluate the rate at which individuals affected by substance-induced psychosis later developed schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Altogether 6,788 individuals, who had been diagnosed with substance-induced psychosis between 1994 and 2014, were assessed. The evaluations were made on the basis of 67,227 controls and were examined until the first episode of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, their death, emigration, or August 2014, whichever occurred first.

The Kaplan-Meier method (used to estimate the survival function from lifetime data) was applied to identify the probabilities of developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, while Cox proportional hazards regression model (method to determine the effect of several variables upon the time a particular event happens) was used to calculate the hazard ratios (HR) for covariates.

The outcomes of the diagnosis were as below:

  • Schizophrenia was diagnosed in approximately 26 percent of the participants, whereas bipolar disorder was diagnosed in 8.4 percent within 20 years of being diagnosed with substance-induced psychosis.
  • Those with cannabis-induced psychosis showed the highest conversion rate to schizophrenia.
  • As compared to others, participants with substance-induced psychosis had considerably higher probability of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • The risk of developing schizophrenia was the highest in individuals diagnosed with cannabis-induced psychosis, whereas individuals with sedative-induced psychosis were at the highest risk of developing bipolar disorder.
  • Schizophrenia was most common in individuals aged between 16 and 25 years. However, the same began to reduce with the increasing age.
  • As compared to women, men were at a greater risk of developing schizophrenia and at a lower risk of developing bipolar disorder.
  • There was a greater likelihood of schizophrenia developing in people already affected by issues like substance use disorder, personality disorder and eating disorders. On the other hand, people with personality disorder, unipolar depression and anxiety disorder were more likely to develop bipolar disorder.
  • A total of 32.2 percent of individuals with substance-induced psychosis developed bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Out of these, half of the bipolar disorder cases had developed within 4.4 years whereas half of schizophrenia cases occurred within 3.1 years.

Based on these findings, the authors suggested that all the patients with substance-induced psychosis should be offered follow-up. “Since only 50% of the cases that convert from cannabis-induced psychosis to schizophrenia do so within the first 2 years, and the rate of conversions over time is lower for all other substances and for conversion to other diagnoses, the follow-up period should be at least 2 years,” said the study authors.

Help for dual diagnosis

It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle for a sound and healthy life. However, despite precautions, just like physical problems, anyone may get affected by a mental disorder, addiction, or both. When a person suffers from both – normally unaware of the problems or realizing only one of those – it is a comparatively complicated disorder, known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

If you know someone who is affected by a mental illness, addiction or both, the Florida Dual Diagnosis Helpline can assist you in finding the best dual diagnosis rehab centers. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-337-7631 or chat online to know about the comprehensive treatment for dual diagnosis in Florida and other parts of the United States.