Tag Archives: Mental Illness

New study finds connection between early use of marijuana and mental illness

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

There is a significant and consistent relationship between marijuana use and the development of schizophrenia and related disorders. Schizophrenia is considered by psychiatrists to be the most devastating of mental illnesses. Patients who suffer from it often experience auditory or visual hallucinations, severe social withdrawal and cognitive impairment. Many require frequent and prolonged hospitalization in psychiatric wards.

Schizophrenia affects almost three million Americans—more than six times the number of people with multiple sclerosis, two and a half times the number of people with Parkinson’s disease, and more than twice the number of people with HIV/AIDS. Less than one-third of patients with schizophrenia can hold a steady job or live independently. A large portion (about one-third) of homeless people in the U.S. suffer from the disease.

Though they receive little attention in the legalization debate, the scientific studies showing an association between marijuana use and schizophrenia and other disorders are alarming. A 2004 article in the highly respected British Journal of Psychiatry reviewed four large studies, all of which showed a significant and consistent association between consumption of marijuana (mostly during teenage years or early 20s) and the later development of schizophrenia. The review concluded that marijuana is a “causal component,” among others, in the development of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

A 2007 study in the Lancet, a British medical journal, concludes that using marijuana increases the risk of young people developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. This risk is greatest—up to a 200% increase—among those who use marijuana heavily and who start using at a younger age.

I thought this article was useful for parents who need some ammunition when talking to their children about drugs. Children can be pretty irrational. You show them studies, and they say “that will never happen to me”. That’s just how they are. But at least when you show them the evidence, it might stick in their mind a little more. It’s all in the way you present it, I think. The idea is to be truth-focused and authentic, rather than confrontational. Maybe discuss it as a policy issue rather than a parenting issue.

Related Posts

New study: belief in God can significantly improve mental health outcomes

From Psych Central. (H/T Rob P.)

Excerpt:

A new study suggests belief in God may significantly improve the outcome of those receiving short-term treatment for psychiatric illness.

Researchers followed patients receiving care from a hospital-based behavioral health program to investigate the relationship between patients’ level of belief in God, expectations for treatment and actual treatment outcomes.

In the study, published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers comment that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without.

“Belief was associated with not only improved psychological well-being, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm,” says David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The study looked at 159 patients, recruited over a one-year period. Each participant was asked to gauge their belief in God as well as their expectations for treatment outcome and emotion regulation, each on a five-point scale.

Levels of depression, well-being, and self-harm were assessed at the beginning and end of their treatment program.

Obviously, the issue of God’s existence is a matter to be decide based on what is true and false, but this kind of story might help us to get motivated for persuasion.

MUST-READ: Jennifer Roback Morse explains why two-parent families matter

Article here in Policy Review, a publication of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

Excerpt:

A free society needs people with consciences. The vast majority of people must obey the law voluntarily. If people don’t conform themselves to the law, someone will either have to compel them to do so or protect the public when they do not. It costs a great deal of money to catch, convict, and incarcerate lawbreakers — not to mention that the surveillance and monitoring of potential criminals tax everybody’s freedom if habitual lawbreakers comprise too large a percentage of the population.

The basic self-control and reciprocity that a free society takes for granted do not develop automatically. Conscience development takes place in childhood. Children need to develop empathy so they will care whether they hurt someone or whether they treat others fairly. They need to develop self-control so they can follow through on these impulses and do the right thing even if it might benefit them to do otherwise.

All this development takes place inside the family. Children attach to the rest of the human race through their first relationships with their parents. They learn reciprocity, trust, and empathy from these primal relationships. Disrupting those foundational relations has a major negative impact on children as well as on the people around them. In particular, children of single parents — or completely absent parents — are more likely to commit crimes.

Without two parents, working together as a team, the child has more difficulty learning the combination of empathy, reciprocity, fairness, and self-command that people ordinarily take for granted. If the child does not learn this at home, society will have to manage his behavior in some other way. He may have to be rehabilitated, incarcerated, or otherwise restrained. In this case, prisons will substitute for parents.

I am reading her book Love and Economics right now, and this argument is in the first couple of chapters, which is how I found this article.

Dr. J’s blog is here.