Which risks are increased in comorbid substance abuse and schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Comorbid substance abuse occurs in 20–70% of patients with schizophrenia, particularly younger male patients, and is associated with increased hostility, crime, violence, suicidality, noncompliance with medication, homelessness, poor nutrition, and poverty. Drug use and abuse can also increase symptoms. For example, cannabis use has been shown to be associated with an earlier onset of psychosis and to correlate, in a bidirectional way, with an adverse course of psychotic symptoms in persons with schizophrenia. That is, people with more severe psychotic symptoms are more likely to use cannabis, and cannabis, in turn, seems to worsen psychotic symptoms. [62] However, other research has shown that the use of cannabis is associated with better cognitive functioning. [63]

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