Can drugs cause schizophrenia?

Can drugs cause schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which persons are unable to interpret reality. Moreover, various mental or psychotic conditions are also developed in this disorder. Furthermore, persons suffering from schizophrenia can also experience various other mental abnormalities. The onset of schizophrenic symptoms is based on a combination of genetic, environmental, and various physiological factors. Furthermore, the rate of drug-induced schizophrenia is greater as compared to other factors. However, read this article to understand better how can drugs cause schizophrenia. You will be completely aware of all drug-induced schizophrenia factors.

Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia is one of the chronic brain disorders that alters the perceptions of thoughts and emotions. Affected persons are unable to maintain the balance between reality and the imaginary world. They face difficulty in the effective interpretation of the signals generated by external stimuli. Schizophrenia directs the mind to the confused states, so affected persons can not determine what they are experiencing and what is the actual reality. In most cases, schizophrenia can result the psychosis. A schizophrenic person experiences complications in regulating the varied life aspects. Moreover, approximately 24 million people suffer from schizophrenic disorder in their life stages. Furthermore, schizophrenic symptoms appear in 3.2 million Americans. However, their rate of occurrence is rapidly increasing due to several environmental factors.

Common symptoms of Schizophrenia
Due to overlapping symptoms, it is very difficult to identify the actual symptoms of schizophrenia. However, if the individuals in your close circle are aware of the diagnostic symptoms, then they can better identify them.

The most common symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Trouble in speaking
  • Unusual and involuntary body movements
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Loss of facial expressions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of concentration and focus

Misdiagnosis of Schizophrenia
However, persons suffering from schizophrenia misdiagnose their current situation and move towards the incorrect pathways. They consider themselves possessed or paranoid. They don’t focus on their life and suffer from anxiety and depression. To relieve their stress, they start taking alcohol and drugs.

Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
These are the two distinguished medical terms. Both belong to two different groups of symptoms.

Positive Symptoms: Some symptoms of schizophrenia are considered positive which include disorganized perceptions, thoughts, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Negative Symptoms: In addition, negative symptoms of schizophrenia include difficulty in speech, showing diverse facial expressions or actions, etc.

Causes of Schizophrenia
Although the exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, some common causes of schizophrenia are as follows:

Environmental causes of schizophrenia
Numerous environmental factors can develop schizophrenia. One of the leading causes of schizophrenia is environmental stress.  Moreover, various infectious organisms present in your surroundings can also cause the onset of this disease. Environmental factors can also develop schizophrenia symptoms in developing fetuses during pregnancy. Furthermore, different autoimmune diseases also play an important role in this disease.

Genetic factors
Schizophrenia is one of those medical disorders that run in families. Most of the females are also affected by these disorders during their pregnancy stages. Stress can cause the onset of schizophrenia. Likewise, the occurrence is also increased after the pregnancy stages. Moreover, a single genetic factor is not involved in causing the onset of this disease. Multiple genetic variations are responsible for the onset of this disease. Furthermore, the occurrence of this disorder is also greater in identical twins. If one twin is affected by schizophrenia, then there is more likelihood of another twin to suffer. Due to similar genetic makeup, both twins can develop the disease, although raised in different environments. Likewise, the impact of genetic factors in causing this disease is also similar in non-identical twins. The presence of genetic factors in affected persons answers the question can drugs cause schizophrenia.

Can you get schizophrenia from drugs?
Excessive intake of drugs in the body can elevate the risk of developing schizophrenia. However, the rate of occurrence is higher in the teenage years. On the other hand, the rate of drug-induced schizophrenia is quite different in each individual. Drugs or medications that can induce psychotic disorders can also cause schizophrenia.

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia
If we talk about the diagnostic tests for schizophrenia, then there are numerous ones. However, the most common laboratory tests include:

  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • Brain MRI
  • EEG/MEG
  • Complete Blood Count
  • PET Scan
  • EEG/MEG
  • Drug screening test
  • Urine screening test

Difference between Drug-induced Psychosis and Schizophrenia
Both schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis are distinct. However, symptoms of both conditions exhibit greater resemblance. But the major difference lies in their lifespan. The extent of the duration of schizophrenia is more as compared to drug-induced psychosis. Schizophrenia can last for six months or more. Some people only exhibit psychosis having a smaller duration. However, if the person is already affected by schizophrenia,  the extent of severity can increase accordingly.

Brain abnormalities in schizophrenia
Several studies have indicated that numerous changes occur in the brains of individuals affected with schizophrenia. Various structural and functional changes occur in the brain development. However major differences occur in the following regions of the brain:

  • Frontal lobe
  • Cortex
  • Temporal lobe

Memory formation, judgment, and Different vital functions can altered due to abnormalities in the frontal lobe of the brain.

Furthermore, emotions, thoughts, and memory processing get altered due to undesired changes in the temporal lobe. Moreover, the processing of sensory information is also affected in affected persons. This occurs due to the reduction in the size of the hypothalamus that occurs in affected individuals with time.

Increased Rate of Brain Aging
Various aging mechanisms get started when the person gets older. The brain gets exposed to the inevitable aging process. The most prominent changes that occur in the brain include the shrinkage of the brain. Moreover, the coordination between neurons is also disrupted. Various appropriate pathways of information processing are also affected due to reduced blood flow to brain cells.  However, people suffering from schizophrenia experience rapid brain aging. The brains of the schizophrenic patients appeared to be around 3.5 years older as compared to the nonaffected individuals.

What drugs cause schizophrenia
Drug-induced schizophrenia is common. Moreover, the most common drugs that can develop schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like symptoms include:

Cocaine and Schizophrenia
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can exhibit adverse health symptoms. Excessive use of cocaine can lead to schizophrenia. Various studies have reported that most of the patients suffering from schizophrenia have a history of taking cocaine within a year. Cocaine abuse can cause a reduction in dopamine levels. Moreover, it can cause the blockage of serotonin reuptake inhibitors and dopamine presynaptic structures. The occurrence of schizophrenia in persons who take cocaine is higher as compared to healthy persons.  Moreover, if the cocaine use is extended for a longer period, various schizophrenia complications can occur.

However, excessive use of this drug can also cause the overproduction of dopamine hormones. This can exert a negative impact on the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and other parts of the brain. Furthermore, cocaine can interrupt the normal functioning pathways of the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Can drugs cause paranoid schizophrenia?
Paranoia is a medical condition that involves disrupted behavior patterns in an individual. People suffering from this condition remain suspicious and show a lack of trust toward others. Moreover, the most common symptoms of paranoia involve hallucinations and delusions. Primarily, different studies have reported that abuse of cannabis can cause paranoid schizophrenia. Misuse of this drug can worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia. An affected person can experience severe hallucinations and dizziness. However, various studies reported that this drug is not directly linked with the onset of this disease.

Can street drugs cause schizophrenia?
Yes. Different street drugs are responsible for developing schizophrenia symptoms. Recent studies have suggested that half of the American adults suffering from schizophrenia are also diagnosed with alcohol or any addictive drug abuse. Approximately, 26% of the schizophrenia symptoms appeared in the body after the intake of street drugs. Cocaine, cannabis, and methamphetamine can cause schizophrenia and various other mental disorders. Among all, cannabis is under the limelight due to its strong association with the onset of schizophrenia. The prevalence of this disorder is rapidly increasing due to the current modified forms of street drugs.

Can you get schizophrenia from drugs?
A large number of drugs or addictive substances can cause drug-induced schizophrenia which is as follows:

Cannabis and Schizophrenia
Cannabis is also named as marijuana. This drug is developed from the extractions of cannabis plants. This drug is extensively used for various recreational purposes. Cannabis drugs can trigger the symptoms of schizophrenia. Moreover, this drug can also elevate the symptoms of other medical disorders. However, the diagnosis of schizophrenia caused by cannabis can occur at early life stages. In addition, the risk of schizophrenia doubles in teenagers due to excessive use of cocaine. Persons suffering from psychosis should avoid the intake of cannabis. This drug can also elevate the ratio of psychosis along with the occurrence of schizophrenia.

THC in cannabis
The THC levels in cannabis are directly linked with the severity of the disorder. THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol. It is a major psychoactive compound that is present in the cannabis drug. THC specifically functions in producing a high sensation. Although THC can treat pain, fatigue, or insomnia, can also cause the onset of schizophrenia. The greater the THC quantity in cannabis, the more worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Hallucinogens and Schizophrenia
The link between hallucinogens and schizophrenia also makes the concept evident that can drugs cause schizophrenia. Hallucinogens are specifically involved in the development of hallucinations. Different psychotic disorders can be easily identified by developing hallucinations. Moreover, one of the potential symptoms of schizophrenia is the hallucination.

Various hallucinogenic drugs induce similar schizophrenia-like symptoms by binding with the 5-HT2A receptors. These receptors belong to the serotonin receptor family and play a significant role in cognitive and learning behavior. However, hallucinogens aren’t directly involved in the development of actual hallucinations. In contrast, they produced the effect of pseudo hallucination which involves the alterations in the perceptions. Moreover, each person responds differently to different environmental stimuli.

The most common hallucinogens involve:

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide
  • Psilocybin
  • Mescaline

Effects of Hallucinogens
After taking hallucinogens or hallucinogenic drugs, a person experiences the following symptoms.

  • Seeing vivid colours
  • Sense of exhilaration
  • Intense attention
  • Paranoid delusions

Furthermore, the persons suffering from schizophrenia reported the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in thought processing
  • Complications in-memory processing
  • Mood disorders
  • Blurred thoughts
  • Delusions
  • Intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness
  • Insecurity

Amphetamines and Schizophrenia
Just like other drugs, amphetamines can also trigger the symptoms of schizophrenia. According to a recent survey by the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than five million people are taking an excessive amount of amphetamines. They are stimulant drugs and their major role is the rapid processing of information between the neurons. Due to amphetamine abuse, interneurons move rapidly and direct the person into a more excited state. Despite this drug toxicity, most of the people take it during their normal routine. As it makes the person alert, most of the students take this drug to wake up during their test preparation. Likewise, some people take them to avoid sleep and stay active on the job.

Toxic Health Effects of Amphetamine
Excessive amounts of amphetamine can pose serious health risks which include:

  • Mild to severe seizures
  • Malnutritions
  • Convulsions
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma or death in severe cases

The link between Amphetamine and Schizophrenia
Various studies don’t support the fact that amphetamine is directly involved in causing schizophrenia. However, the majority of the research supports the fact that amphetamines induce psychosis. Amhetamine-induced psychosis has symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Moreover, excessive intake of amphetamine can also induce anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and various other mental disorders. However, stress or anxiety is also treated by amphetamines. Most of the medical treatments involve their use.  In contrast, their abuse should be avoided to prevent any lethal consequences.

Anxiolytics and Schizophrenia
Anxiolytics are the anti-medications. They have a role in causing drug-induced psychosis which in turn can develop into schizophrenia. Approximately 65% of the schizophrenic patients suffered from anxiety. Moreover, the occurrence of anxiety and depression in schizophrenia patients is around 40%. However, it is quite difficult to distinguish the symptoms of anxiety and schizophrenia. The positive effects of the anti-anxiety medications take a few days to occur.

Is drug-induced schizophrenia permanent?
The adverse effects of drug-induced schizophrenia are not permanent. With effective treatment, you can recover. However, the duration of recovery varies based on the severity. Most of the people recovered within a few days. While some experience the symptoms that last for weeks. If the schizophrenia patient also consumes alcohol or any additional drugs, symptoms can get worse.

What drugs cause schizophrenia-like symptoms?
Due to the resemblance of symptoms with schizophrenia, some disorders are misdiagnosed as schizophrenia which include:

  • Delusional disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Schizophreniform disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder

Some brain tumors may cause psychotic symptoms that seem like schizophrenia. Likewise, people having traumatic brain injury might develop symptoms such as psychosis. Doctors often use tests like CT scans to figure out whether a person has a brain tumor or brain injury as opposed to a mental illness like schizophrenia. Furthermore, different brain tumors can also develop schizophrenia-like symptoms. Likewise, different psychotic symptoms that exhibit resemblance to schizophrenia symptoms can also occur.

Treatment for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenic patients are usually treated with medications and different therapies such as:

Medications:
Different physicians have their concepts regarding the dosages of medicines. Each dosage acts differently in the body. However, the most widely used medications include:

Antipsychotic medications:
Antipsychotic medications play a significant role in regulating the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, different dosages exert different types of improvements. Antipsychotic symptoms initially work to reduce the symptoms of delusions and hallucinations. The most common types of antipsychotic drugs include:

Atypical Antipsychotics:
Atypical Antipsychotics are also recommended by various physicians. They can reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. Furthermore, they cause fewer side effects. The most common atypical antipsychotics include:

  • Latuda
  • Rexulti
  • Vraylar
  • Fanapt
  • Abilify
  • Latuda
  • Seroquel

Typical Antipsychotics
The typical antipsychotics are also effective in treating schizophrenia. However, they can also exhibit short or long-term side effects. Most of the physicians also suggest typical antipsychotics when other medications are not effective.

The most commonly used typical Antipsychotics include:

  • Loxitane
  • Thorazine
  • Trilafon
  • Haldol
  • Navane

Antidepressants
As schizophrenia patients suffer from anxiety and depression, most of the common antidepressants include:

  • Prozac
  • Lexapro
  • Celexa
  • Zoloft

Mood stabilizers
In addition, different mood stabilizers are also recommended. They can effectively treat various schizophrenic symptoms. They are also responsible for maintaining mood and behavior. Some common mood stabilizers include:

  • Lithium
  • Trileptal
  • Lamictal
  •  Depakote

Therapies
Treatment of schizophrenia involves some renowned therapies which are as follows:

Electroconvulsive Therapy
This therapy involves the application of electric current to certain regions of the brain. The generated electric impulses significantly function to lessen the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Schizophrenic patients always require effective guidance and support to deal with the symptoms. Therapists can diagnose the symptoms and guide the patients to cope with the stress.

Family therapy
Other than behavioral therapy, family therapy is also effective in overcoming the symptoms of schizophrenia. Family members better understand each other and can help to identify the trigger factors of the disorder.

Social skills training
Persons suffering from this disorder are unable to engage in different social activities. However, with effective social skills training, they can better adapt to social environment.

Last Remarks
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that comprises diversified symptoms. Persons suffering from this disorder usually face a lack of motivation and interest. Moreover, hallucinations and delusions occur when the condition gets severe. Various factors including environmental, genetic, and physiological can cause the development of this disorder. Among environmental factors, drug-induced schizophrenia is more common. After reading this article, you will be able to know that can drugs cause schizophrenia or not. Moreover, you will also get knowledge regarding what drugs cause schizophrenia. Renewed Mental Health Group is the top-notch platform that provides the best treatment services for drug-induced schizophrenia.

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Brittlin Fagundes

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Brittlin Fagundes is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Renewed Mental Health Group. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University. Brittlin then returned to her hometown of San Diego, California, where she received her Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University.

In her spare time, Brittlin enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, playing and watching sports, and listening to music. Brittlin finds these activities very therapeutic, as they allow her to clear her mind and reflect and provide her pure happiness. Brittlin works with her clients to find their hobbies and interests, which can be great coping and grounding skills for needy individuals.

Brittlin has experience with various ages and populations- children, adolescents, adults and elderly, groups, LGBTQ+ individuals and families of all different socioeconomic statuses. In addition, Brittlin has worked with various diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, addiction, Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Brittlin takes pride in her ability to have a personable relationship with her clients, as she finds it vital for them to feel comfortable in her presence.

Brittlin understands that everyone carries a unique story with extraordinary hardships and stressors. She is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment where her clients can overcome obstacles and work toward positive change. Brittlin believes therapy should be a collaborative process that fosters personal growth and healing. Overall, Brittlin strives to use various therapeutic techniques to empower her clients to overcome their obstacles, working towards self- discovery.

Carissa Mendez-Munder

Associate Clinical Social Worker

Carissa Mendez-Munder is a Mental Health Therapist at Renewed mental Health group. Carissa is a Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Carissa graduated with her master’s in clinical social work from Baylor University.

Carissa’s education and work experience have allowed her to work with a diverse clientele ranging from 4 to 100 years old and across all economic and cultural backgrounds. Carissa has offered individual, group, and family counseling in both English and Spanish for these diverse caseloads. Carissa has provided counseling, emotional and communication skills groups, and grief and anger management groups at the elementary, middle, and high school ages. Carissa works most commonly with diagnoses of Anxiety, Depression, Anger management, life-stage struggles, adjustment disorders, ADHD, family conflict (including non-traditional family arrangements, LGBTQIA+ youth), prolonged grief, and PTSD.

Carissa’s experience has given her more perspective on how external influences, systems, and traumatic experiences in a person’s life can affect their overall health and well-being. Carissa works with her clients using a strengths-based perspective and person-centered approaches to counseling to sharpen tools, skills, and any other client strengths. Carissa works to create a “toolkit” with her clients to better work with these external influences. Carissa believes that every person can change and has the tools to do so. Her role as a therapist is to draw attention to these tools and strengths and help the client find their motivations. Carissa believes in a person’s inherent worth and dignity and their right to live a fulfilling life. Carissa takes pride in seeing her clients achieve their therapy goals and grow their confidence and self-determination. Carissa offers a safe space for her clients for in-person or telehealth sessions and is currently accepting new patients.

Taryn A. Joyce

PMHNP-BC

Taryn is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner with 6+ years of experience in mental health care. Taryn earned her Masters’ of Science in Nursing degree from California State University, Long Beach. Taryn specializes in ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression/mood disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, and personality disorders. Taryn utilizes a patient-centered approach emphasizing collaboration and empowerment, ensuring each individual receives personalized care tailored to their unique needs.

Taryn has years of experience in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, most recently in the community mental health setting, serving clients from various backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. As a committed advocate, Taryn brings a blend of expertise in psychiatric nursing, evidence-based interventions, and a compassionate approach to foster positive outcomes. Taryn looks forward to partnering with you on your journey to mental wellness.

Alice Kim

PMHNP-BC

Alice Kim is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Alice has many years of experience in psychiatry in acute inpatient and outpatient settings.

She believes that mental health is essential but is often a forgotten or invisible part of healthcare.She wants to be an advocate and caregiver for the vulnerable population in a compassionate, empathetic, and nonjudgmental approach.

Alice has made it her life’s passion to utilize her skills to help others aware of their illness and offer patients and their families quality care, support, and guidance during a time of difficulty.

Alice Kim 은 이사회 인증을 받은 정신과 정신 건강 간호사 실무자입니다.

앨리스는 급성기 입원환자 및 외래에서 수년간 정신과에서 근무한 경험이 있다.

그녀는 정신 건강은 필수적이지만, 종종 의료에서 잊혀지거나 보이지 않는 부분이라고 믿는다. 그녀는 연민적이고, 공감적이며, 비판적이지 않은 접근으로 취약한 사람들을 옹호하고 돌보는 사람이 되기를 원한다. Alice는 자신의 기술을 활용하여 다른 사람들이 자신의 질병을 인지하도록 돕고, 환자와 가족의 간병, 지원 및 어려운 시기에 안내를 제공하는 것을 자신의 삶의 열정으로 삼았습니다.

Alice는 2개 국어를 구사하며 한국어에 능통하기 때문에 한국어로 말하는 환자에게 도움이 될 수 있는데, 이는 혼란을 없애고 환자 만족을 제공하며 양질의 의료 서비스를 제공하는 데 도움이 되기 때문입니다.

Cristian Cuevas

PMHNP-BC

Cristian Cuevas, PMHNP-BC, is a highly skilled board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with over seven years of experience in inpatient psychiatry and mental health.

A California State University Long Beach graduate, Cristian also earned recognition as a board-certified psychiatric mental health registered nurse. With a wealth of expertise in adult psychiatric care across the lifespan, Cristian has successfully diagnosed and treated a diverse range of mental health disorders.

Additionally, his specialized experience in child and adolescent inpatient populations further enhances his ability to provide comprehensive and compassionate mental health care.