July 24, 2007

Drug-Induced Psychosis Indistinguishable from Schizophrenia

A new study by scientists at University of California, MIND Institute covers interesting results related to epilepsy and psychosis based on the glutamate hypothesis.

Although the dopamine hypothesis is possibly the most commonly known neurotransmitter theory for schizophrenia, there is also overwhelming evidence that Glutamate plays a part in the disorder. Glutamate's receptor, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), is believed to have reduced function, or be “inhibited” in schizophrenia. Much of the support for this theory comes from the reaction many individuals have to drugs that block glutamate at the NMDA receptor. Some of these "street" drugs are pencyclidine (PCP), and Ketamine (Special K).

The researchers found that "The psychosis produced by these drugs is indistinguishable from schizophrenia and includes both positive and negative symptoms."

This is important information in future prevention because these drug-induced psychoses may account for many of the cases of schizophrenia. There is a lot of research showing drug use can increase risk for development of schizophrenia (latest news in drugs and schizophrenia), but this provides a clear connection that these drugs produce psychosis indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

The researchers focused on the drug-induced psychosis that occurs after puberty using rats as a way to test their theories. Rats and mice are frequently used in this type of research because they share approximately 99% of the genes that humans have (so the research is usually representative of the types of results that they would expect to see in humans), and because such testing could never be done on humans due to ethical reasons. The rats were administered the drugs (PCP) that block the NMDA Glutamate receptor to induce psychosis.

The researchers argue, "this psychosis is an atypical form of limbic epilepsy. Moreover, there is a specific limbic thalamcortical (connecting of the cortex and the thalamus) psychosis circuit that mediates cell injury in limbic cortex of rodents and may mediate this PCP-induced psychosis in humans. It is proposed that this thalamocortical psychosis circuit develops at puberty and can mediate PCP and ketamine-mediated psychosis and possibly the psychosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disease and other disorders that have their onset at puberty," wrote F.R. Sharp and colleagues, University of California, MIND Institute.
The researchers concluded: "Finally, based on this developmentally regulated psychosis/epilepsy-related thalamocortical circuitry, it is proposed that antiepileptic drugs that promote GABAergic mechanisms may decrease the probability of episodic psychosis from any cause."

The connection of psychosis to epilepsy is interesting because it may provide new pathways for treatment. Prescribing antiepileptic/anticonvulsant medications is already common practice when treating treatment resistant schizophrenia. These medications have been shown in some people to decrease irritability, positive symptoms, and anxiety or aggressive behaviors. Lamotrigine (Lamictal), is an anticonvulsant medication that acts on glutamate and has recently been shown to be beneficial in some patients with schizophrenia. Commonly it is augmented with an antipsychotic, usually Clozaril.

Read Full Press Release:
Scientists at University of California, MIND Institute detail research in psychosis.

Research Article:
Sharp FR, Hendren RL.(2007) "Psychosis: atypical limbic epilepsy versus limbic hyperexcitability with onset at puberty?" Epilepsy Behav. ;10(4):515-20.


Very interesting. Concerning the Glutamate hypothesis of Schizophrenia, I recommend this review by Bita Moghaddam:


Posted by: CopperKettle at July 25, 2007 05:18 AM

Yes i think it is very interesting, this means that schizophrenia might be dead from a genetic point of view. Anyone can have a drug induced psychotic episode! They do not need to have genetic epilepsy either. And if the physical/internal symptoms are analogous with external symptoms, it means that there will be alot of people out there diagnosed as schizophrenic when they are simply potheads/crackheads like myself! And are no medicated with anticonvulsants so we have repeat episodes that have ADHD like characteristics, and end up diagnosed as schizophrenic, or bipolar.

Posted by: Max at July 25, 2007 09:04 AM

Hi from France - Consider this and comments, please. Me - English divorced living in France. Why contacting you lot over the pond. Eighteen months ago a clinical psychologist (American!) proffered a diagnosis of me, on line, as being ADHD and when we did in fact meet in the UK said in his opinion, as a clinical psychologist and without any formal consultation/test (and anything else that implies the condition - and the fact that he was ADHD himself, said that I was the mosst hyperactive person he had ever met! In Canada for a long holiday seeing my school friend that I had known for 52 years - had only seen her and her family four times in the preceeding 42 years = she ws diagnosed with terminal cancer whilst I was there. As a Registered Nurse (now retired) I stayed and did my bit . Emotional. Exhausting, Devastating for her family and terribly said for me (explainng not complaining - We acknowledged that my visit was going to be the last time we would connect. Very little sleep (I usually only have 4-5 hours anyway) Flew back to hte UK and collapsed the next day. Out of it. My son insisted I see someone. Did not have the strength to argue - always unable to communicate, exhausted - only wanted to sleep. The point is I was admitted to the hospital - not sectioned!!Discharged - after a few weeks. W week ago - on the second - and last appointment with the Psychiatrist he diagnosed me as Bipolar 1 - I've studied Psychology through the years -interested in the human condition and what makes people tick I am, and have always been, hyperactive, taught myself to read at 4, taught myself to read and play music at 6, paint, sculpt, play the cello, sing in a chorale society - soprano, have run a very successful business after my ex went bankrupt and then sold it; was a self employed legal secretary to top solicitors in the City.

AND I AM 67.

So, you tell me,

I now intend to claim all the
benefits I can off the State -never had credit never claimed unemployment benefit, etc. Get attendance allowance which I can take abroad - do not need to have anyhone to care for me the legal requirements are that I can live on my own and still have the benefits And as a slow uptake of seretonin is indicated with Bipolar ¬ put the case that my mental health condition would be best served by me living in the sun!!! - my home (not divulged to the Social services in the lst 18 months of me being "out of my head". Then take my A level psychology further to a degree and challenge the establishment.Finally as I am "bipolar" thought I would have a external representation of this interesting condition - I bought a tiny white toy polar bear. Bipolar=buy polar?!!
Merci. Ciao

Posted by: Ann Smith at September 17, 2007 04:20 AM

sir i want a complete history of psychosis nd its newer drugs

Posted by: sunit kapila at October 6, 2007 04:08 AM

My booyfriends son, 27 diagnosed with schizophrenia. HIs father suggests drug-induced psychosis as it began with severe distress after heavy drug use in high school. It was agreed that it was indeed that. Risperdol is in use at the moment. Is there some other medication that can be given to help control this? Being in a very rural area and in a province that is behind by two generations at least, there are few doctors that venture out for upgrading, or research. Not finger pointing or blaming, but common knowledge through the community. Keeping the son away from alcohol and drugs brings him around to the wonderful soft hearted person he truly is. But the moment he gets into this stuff he suffers for weeks on end. He is hospital bound today.
I have gone around and faced those so-called friends of his and told them to keep the drugs etc. away from him or else. The phone rarely rings anymore, and this is devastating enough for any person, to realize it was only the life style that attracted them. I do believe though they are actually staying away from him. I am not foolish to think I can keep him away from it if he wants it bad enough. I am a recovering addict/alcoholic myself (17 years clean)

What if anything, can we do?
There are no options here. When a home is mentioned for him it is a seniors home they intend to put him in. When he is straight, and on the right path he is fully functional.

Posted by: D.M at October 24, 2007 04:09 AM

im 21 years old everyone tells me i have my whole life ahead of me. they just dont realise you have to get thru today and tomorrow to be able to have that life. i have bipolar and you no wat i dont think they have diagnosed me correctly! i was an ice and pot head, clean now but cant go anywhere near anyone doing it as i dont have the power or control to say no. i used to try and kill myself but its too selfish to my brothers and sisters who would be devastated, so now i only hope someone will kill me so i cant be blamed for inflicting pain upon my family. people say stay calm talk slowly think about one thing at a time...EASIER SAID THEN DONE YOU IDIOTS!!!! do you think i or others with this problem want to be feeling this way or make your like more complicated...NO. if we could ontrol it i bloody well would. i have intense counselling as i beleive i am evil, i think i get these thoughts as i see wat i have caused other ppl wen i have an episode, they happen almost everyday. i live in hell... and all i want is a cold glass of water. i have yet to find someone who understands. its really really really hard to be here.

Posted by: jennifer at January 9, 2008 08:17 PM

As the person who commented about no one really understands their mental illness, as I myself have schizophrenia and bipolar 1 disorder they call it schizoaffective disorder.it is kinda rare only 5% to 8% of the population have it. no one understands very much about it so treatment does not offer alot of choices. the comment I recieve all the time is just take deep breaths. like that is gonna stop my voices or my mania. I say if you dont know what you are talking about keep those and other useless comments to your supposedly "normal" self

Posted by: shannon g curtis at January 10, 2008 07:31 AM

I live on the other side. My partner has drug induced problems (my diagnosis)and he lives in hell every day even when he is weeks away from using. My perception is that heavy use during any point in your life leaves your body unable to (retrained to) act. We now know through studies that any substance (food) reconditions pathways for nutrition and action. Drugs do the same. So our choices are to either retrain our bodies to act "normal" or to alieviate the symptoms by subsituting serotonin untake inhibitors, NDMA suppliments - update inhibitors, etc. If adding NDMA to the diet increases the likelyhood that it will be uploaded and the episodes/thought process resolved - go for it. As for me I am going to gently try to get my partner in the mindset of taking better care of himself and just like someone that eats to much, direct his nutrition to try to assist in his care.

Posted by: danny at January 27, 2008 09:30 AM

Thank you to those who explain
how you feel.I'm trying so hard to understand. My son acts like his mind is being tormented but he refuses to talk about it or admit anything is wrong.I can tell when the voices are going off.
Sometimes they make him angry and sometimes they make him laugh.

Posted by: sandi at January 28, 2008 06:57 PM

I hope this helps some people. I had a bad mushroom trip 8 years ago, and never came back. I was a hardcore raver, and did a lot of "dance" drugs. In that state, my mind was full of auditory hallucinations and they prohibited me from realizing I was alive or anything. It was like my brain stopped thinking and became caught on some horrible auditory hallucination filled thought process. I started writing this, then stopped thinking myself crazy for writing it, but I will stand so everyone know there is hope. I stand here alive and well, but with my life in shambles. I was making great money as a telecommunications technician when it happened to me. I was originally a radar display technician in the Navy, but was kicked out for smoking pot. I was in one of the two most difficult intellectual fields in the Navy. I am far from a crazy person, but a victim of drug induced psychosis I am. Please if you have a loved one in a psychosis, love and support them. They are not themselves, it's like a computer with a virus. Do not leave them alone, because they need people to let them know where they are and what is going on with them. Realize they are not completely capable of taking care of themselves a lot of times. Always treat them like you would a mentally handicapped person, because things are going on in their head, and they may be paralyzed by the condition. I hope this helps everyone understand.

Posted by: Raphael at January 30, 2008 02:40 PM

My son is no longer with me. I think he had ketamine induced psychosis. Just guessing here! Probably will never really know! Problem is knowing when a person has a psychosis. Looked normal but just would never keep a job. Always very stubborn and did have those times that he paced alot and became very depressed. Had told me at least 2 different times that he was psychic which I was in denial about. Maybe he was or he wasn't but didn't try to figure it out one way of the other. He had gone to live with his grandparents after trying to commit suicide. They after a year and a half of him not going to work and lying about working kicked him out. Was on the streets not taking care of himself when he finally accomplished the suicide. I knew he wouldnt take care of himself but I thought that if was because I enabled him. How do we understand about the mental problems if you don't talk or tell us. If I had only known after reading some of the help information for mental issues I would have treated him so much differently. I was just always told to kick him out of the house because he wouldn't work. Our relationship was very strained!

Posted by: Sherry Graham at February 4, 2008 12:08 PM

I just read the last comment, and I'm sorry for your loss. My psychosis was one of the most horrible things imaginable to a person. My brain became a receptor for auditory hallucinations and "stinky" thinking. It was like I was in a trance. How can you tell? If a totally normal or abnormal person becomes very different and distant, they are probably in one. My family let me be homeless, live in a tent for the winter, and many other things. My dad is a Dr., not a psychologist, but a Dr.. My stepmom has 2 masters in psychology, and they never looked up what happened to me. They just treated me like I was crazy. I was locked in a trance. I am picking my life up. I could live off the state, but not my style. I'm an overachiever and I lived through death. I am going back to school to get my degree. I hope everyone understands psychosises can be broken, HOPE EXISTS:p!

Posted by: Raphael at February 7, 2008 09:40 PM

The only way to beat a psychosis is to fight it. You must take a stand and take control of your brain, it's only a thought process, NOT VOICES!!!!!!! Don't ever believe they are voices, because the moment that happens the person has lost sanity along with being in a psychosis. PEOPLE AROUND THE PSYCHOSIS SUFFERER, PLEASE REALIZE THEY ARE IN A HORRIBLE THOUGHT PROCESS, LIKE A TRANCE...OR AN ACID TRIP.... I hope this helps. I will be posting on here for a while to assist psychosis sufferers.... Hang in there everyone, I survived one of the worst psychosises I've heard of...and I'm smiling with my middle finger to everyone who turned their backs on me:P

Posted by: Raphael at February 12, 2008 02:02 PM

I have had pyscosis episodes and have been dianosed as having bi-polar mania. I have been pyscotic,manic depressive
and have had hullucinations.
In 2001 I tried Love boat and unfortually my life changed for the worst. I started with weed in the ninth grade by the time I was seventeen I decided to take my druggin to the next level. I ended up in the hospital the week after. It was a painful experince and until this day I regret the choice I made to smoke it. They strapped me up to a bed and injected me with a couple of shots. That night I cried with my mother by my bedside because of the pain I caused myself. My mother did not deserve to see me like that and to have a son who was a addict.I regret putting her and myself through all of it. She gave me the best child hood I could have possibly imangine. I owed her more than that. She was and still is a hard working single mother who loved me and my sister unconditionally with all her heart. By the time I got out of the hospital I was on high levels of medication. The docters put me on depukote, respidol, and toplomax. I have also taken lithium. I got really overweight and had to go back to school learning that everyone new my whole business. It was really disheartening to have to walk through the halls knowing that. I was a specticle something to laugh at. I got through the school year and came back the next school year ready to finish and graduate. My graduation was not a happy moment for me and that cut me and left me wounded deep. I did not feel any fullfillment. My class hardy clapped for me and that left me hurt even more. In one of the speeches they gave where they were saying what the students will be doing in the next 10 years they said
I would be the next mike tyson which I thought was a sarcastic cruel way of putting it. You see they said it because they knew I had taken up boxing. Another challenge I had to face was
College. I knew it was going to be hard and didn't think I could do it. Considering where I was mentally at this point in my life. I didn't think it was possible. I got through the first semester. But I wanted to enjoy college life and the best way was to stop taking my meds. It was hard to sleep I had feelings of high self-esteem and just was out of my element. I did not like being sedated. I ended up back at the hospital this time what I went through was worst and I was in the psycriatric ward of the hospital once again. My father and step-mother noticed my behavior especially since his brother
had been through similair situations battling with herion,crack, and what ever else he could get his hands on. I was there once again and wasn't released until a couple of days. I was asked did I still believe in God, the devil and angels or if I was having thought about that kind of stuff. I said no and they later released me. This time I was back on medication but higher levels. I painfully finished the semester and went back home wanting to take a break. I became extreamly depressed and and was num all the time had no sense of what was going on and just could not pull myself out of it. My thoughts were all negative I knew that I was a underacheiver because all of my family were college graduates and I felt like I was a loser. Thinking back I was just really pissed off and had no self-respect or any zest for life I was nothing and didn't have anymore love,peace, or happiness. I told myself many times if I had the courage I would kill myself. my family just neglected me and many birthdays,thanksgivings,christmases, I felt the same way I felt at my highschool graduatuon. I was dead to myself my family my life was not worth living. I would pray for death in the worst way. I have had many sleepless nights pacing the floor rethinking things from ten years ago trying to think what I should have done and why I didn't do it. I have messed up on jobs and ruined relationships. Today things are a little bit better I am still in school trying to graduate and I'm getting closer but it is a work in progress. I am not as confident as I should be and don't have much faith left but
I try to keep alittle hope with me in my heart. I no nothing is promised. I often have to fight back against this illness but fighting something that knows you better than you know yourself is hard. I watched the movie a beautiful mind with russel crowe and have been inspired at times but realize this illness is real and I have to try to work with it. Exercise is sometimes helpful but when you have no sense of morning, noon, or night no sense of time and essence no tranquiltity and peace you have a long hard road ahead of you. I know life is hard and drugs just make's it harder.

Posted by: William Joyner at February 22, 2008 03:01 AM

Life is WONDERFUL if you give it a chance. I am trying to take as few medications as possible. I ride my bike around 60 miles a week, and I feel great. I need to work on my diet, but all in good time. I can't wait to start living again, buy a home...etc...

Posted by: Raphael at February 22, 2008 11:20 AM

I speak as a survivor of 7-8 year psychosis. I see life in a "bi-polar" sense, good and bad, up or down. I can either maximize the remainder of the years I have, or die. I fear death more than anything, so I have one option LIFE! As I said before I could live off the state for the remainder of my life, but not my style. I pick up from here and resume perfection!

Posted by: Raphael at February 28, 2008 11:32 AM

Happy Easter everybody!

Posted by: Raphael at March 22, 2008 06:34 PM

I recently met and fell completely in love with someone and they just told me that they have drug induced psychosis. Because we live very far away I never spent much time with him face to face but we talk on the phone almost everyday. When he told me about his condition (if thats the right term, i dont mean to offend) I didnt know what to say except to tell him that I love him. He said if I wanted to pull away he would understand. I told him that I definitely didnt want to and that it actually explained a lot of his behavior. But now I dont know what to do. In order for us to be together my life has to change drastically which I would do for him in a heart beat, but I am not sure if it the smartest thing to do because I have no idea what I am getting into. I love him desperately but i dont know what I am getting myself into. He's a really great guy and I am sure I dont need to get into his behaviors, but i dont know how i could help him or if we could ever have a mutually beneficial relationship. I dont want to sound selfish, I just want someone to help me understand better.

Posted by: Evangeline at March 27, 2008 04:17 PM

I recently had a nervous breakdown and during i decided to smoke pot to calm myself down...big mistake! needless to say it made me manic. this was two monts ago and i still feel as though i am living in a dream world and my memory is completely shot. I am able to communicate fine but find myself unable to watch movies, read, or follow conversations properly...is this drug induced psychosis? is there any specific treatment i can go on that will allow me to think properly again? i'm told just to keep positive and it will all get better, is this true? how long can this last? will i be this way forever?

Posted by: peter simmons at May 8, 2008 02:09 PM

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