Substance use in a population-based clinic sample of people with first-episode psychosis

Department of Psychiatry, Box 189, University of Cambridge, UK.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.34). 07/2007; 190:515-20. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.106.024448
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Substance use is implicated in the cause and course of psychosis.
To characterise substance and alcohol use in an epidemiologically representative treatment sample of people experiencing a first psychotic episode in south Cambridgeshire.
Current and lifetime substance use was recorded for 123 consecutive referrals to a specialist early intervention service. Substance use was compared with general population prevalence estimates from the British Crime Survey.
Substance use among people with first-episode psychosis was twice that of the general population and was more common in men than women. Cannabis abuse was reported in 51% of patients (n=62) and alcohol abuse in 43% (n=53). More than half (n=68, 55%) had used Class A drugs, and 38% (n=43) reported polysubstance abuse. Age at first use of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamine was significantly associated with age at first psychotic symptom.
Substance misuse is present in the majority of people with first-episode psychosis and has major implications for management. The association between age at first substance use and first psychotic symptoms has public health implications.

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