Effect of substance misuse in early psychosis

Br J Psychiatry Suppl. 1998;172(33):134-6.


Background: Studies examining the temporal relationship between substance use and the onset of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia are inconclusive.

Method: Three groups of out-patients with schizophrenia were compared on onset of illness, symptoms and quality of life. Fifty-one subjects had no past or present history of substance misuse, 29 subjects had a history of past substance misuse occurring around the onset of their illness, and 33 subjects were currently misusing substances.

Results: Current substance misusers had poorer quality of life scores and less negative symptoms than the non-users. Those who had a past history of substance misuse had a significantly earlier age of onset than those with no substance use.

Conclusions: Attention should be paid to substance misuse present at the first episode. Treatment for schizophrenia should begin even though a diagnosis of drug-induced psychosis cannot be ruled out.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*