Substance abuse among schizophrenic patients is an increasingly recognized clinical phenomenon. The authors review experimental and observed clinical effects of drug abuse and patients' subjective experiences of acute intoxication. Though drug abuse may exacerbate psychotic symptoms, abused drugs may also lead to transient symptom reduction in subgroups of schizophrenic patients. Some patients report feeling less dysphoric, less anxious, and more energetic while intoxicated. Models of the relationship of drug abuse and schizophrenia, particularly the self-medication hypothesis, are discussed in reference to these data.
Copyright (C) 1990, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
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